Over Eleven Years later -- 911 remembered
John W. Perry, Michel P. Colbert - best friends
WE REMEMBER OUR FRIENDS.
THIS PHOTO IS PART OF A SERIES OF PICTURES
TAKEN IN FOREST HILLS NYC, 7-MILES EAST OF THE WTC
from 9:10 AM on... 11 SEPT 2001
JUST MOMENTS AFTER THE SECOND PLANE
HIT THE SECOND TWIN TOWER.
A MUSHROOM CLOUD RISES OVER THE CITY.
Officer John Perry, 40th Precinct, Bronx
"...the longtime cop was on his way to One Police Plaza to file his retirement papers when
he saw people who needed help."
Yoko-chan and John W Perry,
aboard the lightship Frying Pan docked in NYC harbor, c.1999
JWP at Ascan Ave rooftop|
NY Times - November 16, 2001 - A Policeman for Starters, and at the End
If you looked closely at the opening
scene of "NYPD Blue" Tuesday evening, you could have spotted a tall
handsome man named John W. Perry.
He was an extra, playing one of the
mourners in police uniforms at the funeral of an officer. For Mr. Perry's
friends and relatives, the scene was much too familiar. The bagpipes and
drums, the ceremonial pass of the helicopter, the solemn folding of the
American flag. They had just been through it all.
The same police officer
who sang "Ave Maria" at the television funeral, standing near Mr. Perry
during the scene filmed in August, sang again on Saturday morning at Mr.
Perry's memorial service. Mr. Perry did not just play a police officer on TV.
He was a member of the Police Department
who somehow found time to be an
actor, a lawyer, a political activist, a volunteer social worker, an
athlete, a linguist, and those were just some of the vocations listed by
Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik during the service at the First Presbyterian
Church on West 12th Street. "I thought I was the only person with nine
lives in a career," Mr. Kerik said.
Mr. Perry, who was 38, was raised in
Seaford, on Long Island. He couldn't tie his shoes or ride a bicycle until
he was 9, and spent several early grades in special education classes.
But he went on to run marathons, finish law school and serve in the Police
Department as both a patrolman and a prosecutor of corrupt officers.
the service on Saturday, his mother, Patricia Perry, picked a reading
about a lawyer, the one who asks Jesus how to gain eternal life and is
told the parable of the Good Samaritan. After the service, Mr. Perry's
friends and relatives couldn't stop telling stories of his unsolicited
loans and gifts and favors.
His apartment at Amsterdam Houses, the housing
project near Lincoln Center, was a continual bed and breakfast, not only
for friends from overseas (he spoke French, Russian, Spanish and Swedish),
but also for a homeless man he befriended.
He volunteered as an
investigator of child abuse for the Kings County Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
He was a police officer who opposed the
war on drugs and was concerned about racial profiling (he was himself the
product of an interracial marriage).
He belonged to the Libertarian Party
and the New York Civil Liberties Union, and worked on the campaign of
Norman Siegel, the former New York Civil Liberties Union official who ran
for public advocate. "We spent Sept. 9 driving around in his car as he
made campaign announcements in English and Spanish," Mr. Siegel said. "I
was convinced he would run for office himself one day. He was a brilliant,
charismatic Renaissance man with a sparkle in his eye and an infectious
smile. His future was unlimited."
Two days later, Mr. Perry, who had a job
waiting in a Manhattan law firm, went to file his retirement papers.
was at Police Headquarters, off duty, when the first plane hit the World
Trade Center. His retirement was promptly postponed. He bought a golf
shirt with the N.Y.P.D. logo and rushed to the lobby of the north tower
next to the plaza.
As office workers came down the stairs, he and other
officers steered them away from the plaza, to a downstairs exit safe from
the debris and bodies that were falling outside.
"People would come out of
the stairwell and freeze when they looked at the plaza," said Keith Morse,
a police officer working with Mr. Perry. "There was one body lying right
next to the window. A burning foot bounced off the glass at one point.
People would look and go into shock. We had to grab them and keep them
moving toward the escalator." One woman complained of chest pains and
couldn't go on. Mr. Perry and a police captain, Timothy Pearson, took her
arms and started to help her out of the building. Then they heard what
sounded to Mr. Pearson and Mr. Morse like Niagara Falls. It was the other
tower collapsing. "A wind like a tornado came at us, carrying debris and
glass and soot," Mr. Pearson said. "It was sheer pandemonium. There was
complete darkness. Windows shattered and parts of the floor collapsed."
Mr. Pearson and Mr. Morse separately managed to escape from the tower just
before it, too, collapsed. They never saw or heard anything of Mr. Perry
or the woman he was helping. "It was just part of John's nature to be
there," his mother said Saturday. "This big man standing there, directing
people to safety. It was the culmination of a lifetime of wanting to help.
I was very glad we had the Good Samaritan reading
2001-2012 - remembered - TAPES -
Ray Kelly, NYPD
*one of John W. Perry's best friends...
Michel P. Colbert* - Cantor Fitzgerald
World Trade Center Tower #1 104 th Floor
Parents Raymond and Marie Colbert