Remembering Sirius - Should His Name Be On The 9/11 Memorial?
Sirius, a Police K9 - Badge Number 17, was a four-and-a-half-year old, ninety pound, easygoing, yellow Labrador Retriever. He was an Explosive Detection Dog with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department. And, he was the only police dog to die in the 9/11 attack.
As the story is told, on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Officer Lim and Sirius, the Explosive Detector Team for the World Trade Center, were in their South Tower basement office when Lim felt the rumbles of the first plane striking the North Tower.
Lim, who assumed he and Sirius had somehow failed to detect an explosive told him, ‘I think we’re in a lot of trouble right now. I’ll be back for you.’” Officer Lim put his Sirius in his kennel and headed off to find the source of the explosion.
Making his way to the North Tower, Lim began leading others to safety when at 10:28 a.m., the building crumbled in the span of 11 seconds, killing hundreds of civilians and scores of first responders.
Lim, along with 12 FDNY firefighters, and three civilians were descending stairwell B and had made their way to the fourth floor where they became trapped amid the debris for five horrifying hours before help came. Thirty seven PAPD cops perished on 9-11 and Lim emerged as the only cop to survive after being trapped during the ordeal, making him something of an iconic figure within the agency. Port Authority Lt. David Lim, one of only 16 people to survive the collapse of the World Trade Center North Tower, retired in July 2014 after 34 years on the job.
Unfortunately, on Jan. 22, 2002, the remains of Sirius were uncovered still in his kennel. Sirius was kept in the Port Authority office in the South Tower for his safety during the chaos following the plane collision into the North Tower. No one could have predicted the South Tower would also collapse.
The Twin Towers collapses killed 2,606 people in the towers and on the ground, including 37 Port Authority officers, and Sirius, Port Authority Police Department K-9 #17.
It was reported that Sirius had over 400 people at his funeral. In the image, David Lim holds Sirius’ watering bowl recovered in the wreckage from September 11.
Lim later remembered, "He was a big mush. You thought he was a lap dog, even though he was almost 100 pounds. He was very methodical. It was very cute watching him work.”
In memory of Sirius, a dog run was created in Kowsky Plaza which is west of Liberty Street and east of Esplanade on an old pumping station.
Unfortunately, Sirius’ name is not engraved in the 9/11 Memorial. There is still a petition to add Sirius to the memorial that was started on Sept. 11, 2014 by Elizabeth Wales, a college student in Tennessee.
According to Wales, the memorial was contacted via the phone number on their website and when asked why Sirius’ name was not included on the memorial, the foundation replied “The memorial is only for the human victims.”
The Sirius petition raises questions about the ethics around dogs and memorials, and about just where the line should be drawn for memorializing loved ones. Sirius was a first responder, a member of the PAPD, and quite possibly the first dog killed due to international terrorism.Tell us what you think. Should Sirius' name be included on the 9/11 Memorial? Should other working dogs be included on memorials of similar disasters? Is there a distinct line?
(for the record, we think the answer is ABSOLUTELY!!!)
Don't miss these beautiful dog photos! "Hard-Working Dogs Honored by Photographer, Andrew Fladeboe".
Credits: Global Animal, NY Times
Photo Credits: Michael Norcia, PAPD