Christina, I am forwarding to you a copy of a letter of thanks to Councilman Robert Holden for the very impressive tribute to my uncle, Capt. Thomas G. Abbey, on September 17th. Right up there on top is my sincere thanks to you for the beautiful video coverage of both the wreath-laying ceremony and the street co-naming.
As mentioned to Councilman Holden I felt as if was watching a Hollywood production; it was so thrilling and I truly appreciate you sending me those videos. Also, retired Sgt. Michael Fagan, with the Blue Knights, sends his regards and thanks for your kindness to him.
When you are so fortunate as to have such a wonderful presentation honoring your loved one, you can’t help but think of all the hard work that was put into it to make it look so easy.
I must report that after a thorough search, I found a picture of you standing close to Tom’s monument in the middle of all the participants who towered above you and was delighted to hear they recognized all your efforts in making the event as impressive as it was. Of course, I spotted in the background the former Abbey home where I spent many Christmases with the whole family on Christmas Eve watching through the windows for the arrival of Santa Claus by truck filled with presents for all the children in the neighborhood (including me!) because there wasn’t enough snow for his sled!!
I did also notice, of course, your kind mention of my contributions to the material used at the event. While it certainly wasn’t necessary, it was very thoughtful of you.
Again, many, many thanks for your hard work in honoring my Uncle Tom and taking me on a lovely journey down memory lane. I don’t travel at all anymore during COVID, and I’m so very aware now that getting old is not for sissies! Thanks for being my tour guide! I hope someone does something very nice for you someday soon..
With my very best wishes and blessings,
Niece of Capt. Thomas Abbey, AAF
Dear Mr. Holden:
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to commend you for your steadfast pursuit in recognizing the achievements of my dear Uncle Tom and can only imagine the conflict you experienced in these days of disrespect, antagonism and defunding for the men and women in blue. Most of us never even knew a police officer unless they were justly ticketed for running a red light, and that is the scenario by which they judge and proclaim their antagonism.
I am the niece of Capt. Thomas G. Abbey, a former NYC police officer, who was honored by the street re-naming at 82nd Place and 64th Road, Middle Village, on September 17, 2022. I was so honored to know that my beloved Uncle Tom was being recognized for his heroic achievements even though he died as the first NYC police officer lost in World War II.
I will always be grateful for the videos of the wreath-laying at our family plot, and the street co-naming sent to me by Christina Wilkinson, and the pride I felt to see the beautiful huge wreath with the picture provided, surrounded by the presence of Inspector Ge, Patrick Lynch and Anthony Nunziato, the Blue Knights, the uniformed police officers, and the thrilling sight of the Color Guard.
It was a scene reminiscent of a Hollywood production, yet this time it was REAL, and Aunt Mary would have been so proud. I couldn’t miss seeing in the background Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary’s house when you introduced the speakers prior to the re-naming ceremony. I was ten years old when Uncle Tom died, and vividly remember my Aunt Mary receiving that awful telegram. There were 2 military funerals, one in Brooklyn with more than 1,000 police officers at the time of his death, and the second military funeral and burial in St. John’s Cemetery when his body was returned to our family five years later from the initial interment in Panama. I prefer to remember my dear Uncle Tom when he would stop at our house on 68th Road in Middle Village, leaning his motorcycle against the fire hydrant and ringing our bell, with his voice ringing out, “Where is it??, I know it’s here somewhere!” as he searched around the house for the little bottle of milk this 5-year-old refused to give up no matter how much I was teased about it!
When he couldn’t find where I hid it, he would swoop me up in his arms and let me hang from the doorframe with his arms around me so I couldn’t fall. I still remember how I would squeal with laughter — he was so much fun!!! I wanted so much to be present at his memorial, yet at the age of 88 years old and SO painfully aware that I am part of the most vulnerable population for COVID, I knew I would have to content myself with providing as much as possible of my family archives to tell Tom’s story. Those videos of both ceremonies were so thrilling I felt as if was there in person, and I was reminded by retired NYPD Sgt. Michael Fagan, who attended as a Blue Knight and my representative, that he was often questioned by the Blue Knights why Tom was being honored so many years after his death in 1943. I reminded him that the people he was talking to probably were not even born in 1943 and they couldn’t relate to what seemed to them to be “ancient history” and not worthy of mention. According to Christina, the event was only started two years ago in 2020 and Tom was only the 5th person honored. However, I can’t help thinking it couldn’t have come at a better time considering the discouragement and lack of respect for police we are living with these days.
Just thought perhaps there are folks out there who never even knew a policeman, and couldn’t be more grateful to see that it is so important to you that you will take on the naysayers at personal detriment to yourself to honor those who put so much of themselves on the line to Serve and Protect the rest of us.
Do you think just maybe if parents and our schools started again to teach the little children, just the way we were taught, that if ever you are lost or in trouble, “look for a police officer,” and he or she will help you find your way back to your safe place. What do you think?
God Bless You and keep you safe.
From the bottom of my heart,