The city will honor eight officers who succumbed to illnesses related to working amid the toxic debris at ground zero, the New York Post reports.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will preside over a May 9 ceremony paying tribute to eight fallen officers who died from a litany of diseases linked to their work at the site of the World Trade Center, the Post reports.
One of those officers will be Det. James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory disease in 2006 after spending more than 400 hours sifting through the smoldering ruins at ground zero.
"It's a bittersweet victory," Joseph Zadroga, James's father, told CBS News.com.
"It's joyful but I'd rather have him here," he said. "I know it's something that Jimmy would want."
James Zadroga was the first NYPD officer to have his death directly linked to his work at ground zero. Subsequently, he emerged as a symbol for the plight of thousands whose health rapidly deteriorated after their long days toiling in the rubble at ground zero.
Last May, a woman who died of lung disease five months after Sept. 11, 2001 was added to the medical examiner's list of attack victims. It marked the first time the city officially linked a death to the toxic dust caused by the World Trade Center's collapse. However, the city has long resisted adding names of sick 9/11 responders who died to the official victim's list - despite mounting medical evidence that suggests a strong link.
Of the 70,000 people taking part in Mount Sinai Medical Center's World Trade Center health study, 85 percent are suffering some kind of respiratory problem. Medical experts now say the toxic cloud sparked at ground zero has not only caused severe breathing problems in the short term but also will likely spawn diseases like cancer in the years to come. The mounting medical evidence has put pressure on lawmakers to fund monitoring and treatment for sick responders.
In addition to Zadroga, the Post reports that those receiving plaques on the wall include police officers James Godbe, Thomas Brophy, Ronald Weintraub and Angelo Peluso and Detectives John Young, Kevin Hawkins, and Robert Williamson.
By Stephen Smith