Port Authority Police Lt. David Lim, one of 16 to survive the collapse of the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, is retiring after 34 years of service, media outlets reported on Thursday. Some of Lim’s personal items from that day – a gun belt and his canine partner Sirius’ leash and badge – are on display in the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
The New York Daily News reported that Lim, who has two children and currently lives in Lynbrook on Long Island, started his career as a K-9 officer in 1996, which is when Sirius, then 4 years old, became his partner – and his close friend.
“I spent a lot of time on this job and obviously, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family,” Lim told The New York Post.
On 9/11 at 8:46 a.m., Lim was in the basement-level K-9 office of the South Tower and could feel the first plane strike the North Tower, according to the book “The Stories They Tell” that details the stories behind different artifacts in the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Lim was required at all times to have a hand on Sirius’ leash whenever the dog accompanied him, so at that moment he decided to leave his dog inside his kennel, telling him, “I’ll be back for you.”
As Lim climbed up to the 44th floor of the North Tower, his gun belt added at least 20 extra pounds, making the ascension more difficult. He helped usher evacuees out of the building down stairwell B, offering them comforting words as they escaped. Though Lim was still on the fifth floor of the North Tower when it fell – helping a group of firefighters convince a 59-year-old woman to evacuate – Lim survived.
Sirius, however, died that day.
“It was like losing a family member,” Lim told the Daily News. “My son had said to me, ‘Daddy, I’m happy you’re home, but when are you going back to get Sirius?’”
“Despite the demands on his time, over the years Lim found time to serve the Memorial Museum as a cornucopia of information and good will, always taking our calls, patiently and carefully answering our questions, visiting our offices – sometimes bringing along items to donate to the collection, sitting for oral history taping, and allowing us the privilege of sharing his story,” said Jan Ramirez, 9/11 Memorial Museum Chief Curator.
By Jordan Friedman, 9/11 Memorial Research and Digital Projects Associate