Her father may have died in the line of duty, but that didn’t stop newly sworn in NYPD rookie Jillian Suarez from following in her hero’s footsteps.
Officer Ramon Suarez was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, while trying to rescue people at the World Trade Center after it was attacked by terrorists, WPIX-TV reported.
Ramon Suarez hailed a taxi to get to the grisly scene. His last act of bravery was helping another officer save a woman who was unable to walk before he ran back to the North Tower in an attempt to save more.
Jillian Suarez, who had just turned 9 two days before the attack, recalled praying that her father would be come home.
“I heard my mom over the phone say that my father was missing,” she said. “I just ran to my room – I dropped down, and I just prayed.”
Meet Jillian Suarez, daughter of Police Officer Ramon Suarez who was killed on 9/11 while rescuing victims trapped in the WTC. Last Thursday, she took the same oath her father took to serve and protect. Join us in saying thank you to her for making this choice to join the NYPD. pic.twitter.com/dbSu4hezuy
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) April 30, 2018
It took three months for search teams to find his body. It wasn’t until then that Jillian Suarez realized she would never see her father again.
Photographs taken on 9/11 captured Ramon Suarez as he helped people get to safety.
His daughter was not surprised when those images emerged, saying her father “was about saving people” and “that’s why he wanted to be a police officer.
George W. Bush posthumously awarded Ramon Suarez with the NYPD Medal of Honor and the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor for sacrificing his life to help others escape. A plaque at the Transit District 4 precinct in Union Square honors his sacrifice as well.
For the first 10 years after the tragedy, Jillian Suarez was unable to speak about her father’s death.
“It’s not easy to constantly go through the memorials and know and hear your father’s name on that list of all those who passed away,” she said last month.
“When the confetti came down, I felt him hugging me,” said Suarez.
With her swearing-in, Jillian Suarez — now Officer Suarez — took one more step down the path laid out by her hero father, Ramon, who gave his life to save others on 9/11.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) October 16, 2018
Jillian Suarez, now 26, graduated from St. John’s University and was hired at the NYPD forensics lab, mere stepping stones to following in her father’s footsteps.
“I always saw his passion in the job and how he loved wearing that uniform, and I want to be able to help others the way he did,” she said.
On Monday, she was sworn into the NYPD Police Academy, as her father was a generation before her.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill singled Jillian Suarez out at the swear-in ceremony, congratulating her.
“I know your dad is proud you’re wearing his shield, today, Jillian, and so are we,” O’Neill said.
Jillian Suarez, a woman joining the New York City Police Department, is carrying on the legacy of her police officer father, Officer Ramon Suarez, who lost his life during rescue efforts at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. https://t.co/gT0WH9N6ml pic.twitter.com/dEzNR6hwQO
— The View (@TheView) May 2, 2018
During the ceremony, Jillian Suarez could feel her father’s presence.
“When I felt that confetti coming down, I felt him hugging me instead,” she said.