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Editorial: Hometown hero

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Only time will heal the pain for Carmen Suarez and her daughter. But like hundreds of relatives of 9/11 victims, this Ridgewood family can take comfort in the knowledge that the heroism of her police officer husband has not been and will not be forgotten.

Last week the National Latino Officers Association honored Carmen and her daughter Jillian, 9, at their annual dinner dance in Astoria. Jillian was given a $1,000 scholarship in memory of her father, Transit Police Officer Ramon Suarez, who was killed while trying to help people escape the inferno at the World Trade Center.

In a brief appearance at the dinner, Gov. Pataki said “in this room, we have many heroes, people who risk their lives every day to protect our freedom. The people of New York will never ever forget Ramon or the heroes who died with him.”

Carmen, in a display of courage and graciousness, acknowledged the support she has received since that tragic day in September. Her husband’s “brothers in blue are the ones who are watching over me and his children,” she said. She went on to paint a picture of a man who left his post on Delancey Street and hailed a cab so could he could do his part to help in the World Trade Center disaster.

Carmen described Ramon as “an exceptional cop” who was proud to wear his uniform. But she also described a devoted father who lived for the sake of his family. She spoke about the family’s last vacation trip to Niagara Falls and hot summer days at Great Adventure.

Sadly there is a Ramon Suarez story for every neighborhood in Queens. This awesome tragedy has left us with hundreds of stories of hundreds of police officers, firefighters and other rescue workers who willing gave their lives so that others might live. Their heroic deeds on that September morning should never be taken for granted.

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