Police K9 Sirius, Badge Number 17...a four-and-a-half-year old, ninety pound, easygoing, yellow Labrador Retriever...was an Explosive Detection Dog with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department. Sirius, along with his partner, Police Officer David Lim, were assigned to the World Trade Center in New York, where their primary duty was to check vehicles entering the Complex, clear unattended bags and sweep areas for VIP safety. Sirius, who began work at the World Trade Center on July 4, 2000, was the only police dog to perish during the attack on the Twin Towers.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Sirius and Officer Lim were at their Station located in the basement of Tower Two. When Officer Lim heard the explosion, he thought at first that a bomb had been detonated inside the building. Believing he would be more effective alone, Officer Lim left Sirius locked in his six-foot by ten-foot crate, telling him, "I'll be back to get you," as he rushed to help with the rescue effort. At that time, Officer Lim could think of no safer place for his canine companion other than the basement. However, Officer Lim failed to return to Sirius. Becoming trapped in the falling debris of Tower One, he wasn't rescued until some five hours or more later. Sadly, in the meantime, Sirius had perished when Tower Two collapsed. The remains of the loyal Sirius were recovered on January 22, 2002. Thankfully, it is believed that he died instantly when his kennel caved-in.
Sirius, born in 1997, was given full Police Honors when his body was eventually retrieved from the rubble that was ground zero. The huge machines on the site were silenced, and Sirius saluted by all in attendance as Officer Lim carried the remains of his flag-draped partner to a waiting police truck. The American Flag which had covered the body of Sirius was later given to Officer Lim and a Fifth Grade Class in Illinois purchased an oak Memorial Flag box for its safekeeping. Sirius was cremated and the ashes placed in an oaken urn which Officer Lim keeps at his home until a decision can be made as to where Sirius will be finally interred.
A Memorial Service for Sirius was held on April 24, 2002 at Liberty State Park (North Field) in Jersey City, New Jersey. Earlier that month, Sirius had been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross at the British Embassy in Manhattan. Almost one hundred police dogs...many wearing badges covered by black ribbon to match those of their handlers and some from as far away as California...filed past the wooden urn containing the ashes of Sirius on April 24, as their handlers stopped to salute. A trumpeter sounded Taps, bagpipers played "Amazing Grace," and seven officers fired a 21-gun salute. An oil painting of Sirius entitled "Salute to Sirius," painted by Debbie Miller Stonebraker and privately commissioned by Sandee Nastasi of Long Island as a gift to the NY/NY Port Authority Police Department K-9 Unit, was unveiled and a poem read in his honor. Then, Officer Lim, who had been Sirius' handler for two and a half years, was presented with his companion's stainless steel water bowl...engraved with a tribute to Sirius.
For some time, it was feared that the body of Sirius might never be recovered from the tons of debris but, at last, Officer Lim was able to make good on the final words given to his staunch companion on that morning of September 11, 2001...and comfort must be taken when and where it can.
Goodbye devoted Sirius...you have gone too soon, but may the star of your namesake shine ever-bright.
Title image of Sirius adapted from a portrait by Debbie Stonebraker and used with
the artist's permission provided credit is given and a link provided to Debbie's site.
Please click on the above logo to visit Debbie's fine art pages.