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Daughter Of Cop Killed On 9/11 Follows In Father's Footsteps And Joins NYPD

caitlyn.clancey 11 Sep 2019

Just two days before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Jill Suarez celebrated her ninth birthday with her entire family, including her father, NYPD Officer Ramon Suarez. It would be the last birthday she ever celebrated with him.

He was a man she always remembered seeing in his uniform, a telling sign of his dedication to his city and its people.

"I always admired him for that," Jill said. "He truly loved his job."

On the morning of the attacks, 45-year-old Officer Suarez bid his family goodbye and left for work.

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He was posted on the Lower East Side when he first heard that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. Taking immediate action, he and his partner, Mark Ellis, sped downtown into the heart of the destruction and entered the crumbling North Tower in an effort to rescue those still trapped inside.

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Ramon ran inside the smoke-filled building three times that day, and rescued two women in desperate need of his help.

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The first was an asthmatic woman, the second a pregnant mother-to-be who was seven months along.

The last time Ramon was seen, he was hurrying back into the building for a third time with Ellis to help a woman who was having difficulty walking. Neither Ramon nor Ellis made it out again before the tower collapsed.

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Jill admitted she had a difficult time accepting that her father died that day.

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"It took three months for them to find him and I think it really hit me when my mom had told me that day when they found him that he wasn't coming home," she said.

"For 10 years, I said that he died from a heart attack. It's not easy to constantly go through the memorials and know and see your father's name on that list of all those who passed away."

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At Ramon's funeral, Jill held the American flag that had been draped across her father's coffin.

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She also wore his patrolman's cap as she followed the coffin to the hearse. Following his death, Ramon was posthumously awarded the New York City Police Department's Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.

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In 2018, the now 26-year-old Jill graduated from the Police Academy after deciding to honor her late, heroic father by joining the force.

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Following her swearing-in, and as confetti rained down from the ceiling, she said she could feel him hugging her.

“I always saw his passion in the job and how he loved wearing that uniform and I want to be able to help others the way he did,” she said.

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At her graduation ceremony, Police Commissioner James O'Neill spoke about Ramon and his tragic death on the day of the attacks.

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"Even now, 17 years later, none of us have completely come to terms with what happened that day, and I don't think we ever will," he said. "But his morning, we're here at the NYPD Police Academy graduation of Ramon's daughter, and that in and of itself says a lot about how far we've come and how the NYPD will never be deterred from the critical work that we do."

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Jill said it took a while to convince her mother that joining the NYPD was the right path for her.

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Carmen Suarez is still deeply traumatized by her husband's untimely death, and didn't want to see her daughter risk meeting the same fate.

"Then she realized this is what I wanted," Jill said.

Her mother added, "I'm beyond proud of her. [Ramon] is definitely here with us today, and he's very proud of her too."

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Jill's first assignment was patrolling the streets of East Village.

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To make the moment extra special, she brought a piece of her father along with her: She wore his same shield badge, No.12671.

She says her passion for helping others is something she inherited from her late father: "Like mommy said, I'm just like him. If people need me, I'll drop anything. I don't care what it is."

h/t: New York Post, Pix11

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