New York Daily News

November 11, 2001

Tears for Fallen Cops, Firefighters

Thousands turn out to say farewell to 4 heroes


With Donald Bertrand, Michael O. Allen and Michele McPhee
Daily News Staff Writers

Heartfelt tears and loving laughter punctuated services yesterday for two police officers and two firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terror attack.

Thousands of mourners, including top city and state officials, attended the separate funeral and memorial services.

First thing the morning of Sept. 11, Police Officer John Perry, 38, a cop for eight years, traveled to Police Headquarters in lower Manhattan to turn in his resignation papers.

He never did quit, said Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who gave one of the eulogies at Perry's memorial service at First Presbyterian Church on W. 12th St. in Greenwich Village.

"John saw and heard what I saw," Kerik said. "After that first tower was hit, he saw the destruction and the debris. He saw the bodies come jumping. He didn't hesitate. He didn't turn back. He ran toward the building."

Perry ran into a pal, Capt. Timothy Pearson, as he dashed into the Borders Books & Music store at 5 World Trade Center, and then into the concourse below the Trade Center's Plaza.

He helped hundreds of people escape before assisting a woman who collapsed as she emerged from a stairwell.

The woman escaped.

Perry did not.

A member of the 40th Precinct in the Bronx, Perry grew up on Long Island. He lived on the upper West Side.

Perry had a very, very full life: He was an attorney who graduated from NYU Law School in the same class as John F. Kennedy Jr., a board member of the Nassau chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and a member of the National Guard.

He was even an actor, winning small parts in several films, including "Devil's Advocate" with Al Pacino, and a daytime soap opera.

The Rev. Mark Hostetter, associate pastor of the church, called Perry "a hero among heroes" who worked with the homeless and immigrants, who didn't use his education as "a steppingstone to a cushy lifestyle."

"John's death leaves a hole, an absence, an emptiness," he said.

Massive Turnout

Nearly 3,000 police officers and civilian mourners packed St. Aedan's Church and an adjoining auditorium in upper Manhattan for the service for Emergency Service Unit Officer John D'Allara, 47, of ESU Truck 2.

Officers from all over the Northeast listened, laughed and wiped away tears as the Rev. Peter Colapietro, pastor of Holy Cross Church in midtown and a longtime friend of D'Allara, conducted the service for the popular cop.

"When John would come see me at Holy Cross so many times, we would sit and chat and he would tell me what a great time he was having on his job, that it meant so much to him," the priest recalled.

"We come here today because John lived, and he lives, and because of the saving acts that he performed for us."

"I know the eulogy is supposed to be short and sweet," said D'Allara's widow, Carol, "but if you knew John you know he loved to talk, and I'm just like him. But I know how to drive," she said, evoking a roar of laughter in the church, since D'Allara was, by all accounts, a lousy driver.

"We met in college when he was 200 pounds of pure muscle," she said. When he asked her out, "How do you say no to a guy who could bench press your whole family in one lift?"

He hated to mow the lawn, she said, so he would let the grass grow high and then, when he would finally cut it, they would stand outside and enjoy the fresh-cut smell.

"He would call John Jr. over and say, 'Someday, son, this will all be yours.' And then he would turn to me and say, 'I can't wait until he can do it.' "

"John liked the simple things in life. His dog, his children and me. His recliner and a cold beer. But when he loved something, he let you know it. And he loved his family, and every day he let us know it, never leaving the house without his 'I love yous.' "

"If I could turn back time to Sept. 11, I would trade places with him," said his twin brother, Danny.

Even after several people spoke fondly about D'Allara's famously bad driving, Danny still drew a chorus of laughs. "I have a confession to make," Danny said. "I taught him to drive."

In addition to his wife, John D'Allara leaves two sons, John, 7, and Nicholas, 3.