July 3, 2019 By Christian Murray
Hundreds of mourners turned out this morning to pay tribute to 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez.
The mass was held at Immaculate Conception Church in Astoria, the parish that Alvarez’ parents and his siblings attended when he was boy living in the Ditmars section of Astoria.
Uniformed officers lined the street as they stood to watch the hearse containing his casket make its way to the 21-47 29th St. church. Six NYPD officers carried his coffin inside, with Alvarez’ family following, including his mother and father, wife and four children.
Musicians played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes shortly before the service began.
Alvarez, who was born in Cuba and raised in Astoria, died Saturday at the age of 53 from colorectal cancer and attributed his illness to the three months he spent searching for victims following the 9/11 attacks.
Firefighters and NYPD officers attended the funeral by the hundreds, as well as Jon Stewart and NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill.
Alvarez appeared before Congress last month alongside Stewart in an attempt to get lawmakers to extend the 9/11 victim compensation fund, which is slated to end in 2020. Lawmakers have yet to vote on the bill.
O’Neill, who spoke at the funeral, said that 222 cops, including Alvarez, have now died as a result of 9/11 illnesses. O’Neill urged Congress to pass the bill and urged attendees to call their elected representatives. “The time for action is long overdue.”
Alvarez spent his childhood and youth in the neighborhood, attending Immaculate Conception School, as well as Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst. He then went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He then joined the NYPD in 1990, where he was assigned to the 108th Precinct in Long Island City. He was later transferred to the Narcotics Division, before being promoted to be a detective.
David Alvarez, Alvarez’ son, was among many family members who spoke at the funeral.
“Before he was an American hero he was mine,” David said. “He was my hero, the one I wanted to make proud.”
For as long as he was here, Lou Alvarez was “still breathing, still fighting.” And for as long as we’re here, we‘ll remember his valiance in the aftermath of September 11th, as well as his fight for all survivors. Never forget his legacy of tenacity & heroism. Fidelis ad Mortem. pic.twitter.com/Xl4heDjrjq
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) July 3, 2019
While I have my doubts about the official 9/11 story, that only makes my sorrow at the passing of Luis more painful. He was clearly a hero, and I wish I could console those who knew and loved him well.
So proud that this hero was of Cuban descenden. He was raised with compassion for other human beings, loved this country and its people!