New York Daily News

An overdue honor to 100 Finest



Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Christopher Kirkegard, 79, was 3 years old when his father, Patrolman Christian Kirkegard, was killed on Nov. 20, 1929.

NYPD Officer Christian Kirkegard was killed in the line of duty nearly 76 years ago when a car rammed his motorcycle during a gasoline strike.

His son Christopher was only 3 at the time and barely knew his dad.

But he knew the great sacrifice his father had made and knew he had never been publicly honored - until yesterday.

The names of Kirkegard and 99 other fallen officers and police employees were added to the NYPD's Memorial Wall by Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly during a solemn ceremony in lower Manhattan.

"It was very moving," said Christopher Kirkegard, 79, clutching a black-and-white photograph of his dad, who died Nov. 20, 1929. "I was fortunate to be here."

The roll call included cops and police employees killed between 1849 and 1997. Many of them died between the Civil War and 1934.

"With the dedication of these additional names, the Police Department resolves never to forget its fallen heroes," Kelly said.

The addition of the names was completed after the urging of cops' relatives, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and retired NYPD Sgt. Mike Bosak.

"At every ceremony, they would say, 'We'll never forget,'" he said. "But, then they forgot."

Bosak and city workers - including a crew of cops assembled by Kelly - combed through pension records, death certificates, command logs and newspaper clippings to compile the fallen heroes' stories.

"It means a lot to the families," Bosak said. "It means everything to them."

The Daily News first revealed Bosak's quest to have the names added to the wall in May 2004.

The officers honored yesterday include Edward Dippel, Peter McIntyre and John Van Buren, who were killed during the Civil War draft riots in 1863, and Thomas Gleason and Patrick Cushing, who died when they were hit by a horse-drawn cab on Broadway in 1893.

"With this ceremony, we are righting historic wrongs," Bloomberg said, blaming the previous omission of the cop' names primarily on poor recordkeeping. "It is an honor to add the names of these officers whose sacrifices until now have been overlooked."