(Photo courtesy of Tom and Jean O’Connor)

WATCH: FBI Couple Who Responded to Pentagon Retire on 9/11 to Honor the Fallen

Former FBI Agents Association President Tom O’Connor and his wife Jean O’Connor, who have a combined 43 years of service at the Bureau, retired from the FBI together 18 years after responding to the Pentagon on 9/11.

“We want to pay honor to our friends who never had the opportunity to retire,” Jean told WUSA9. “And it’s our way of giving closure.”

FBI Special Agent Leonard “Lenny” Hatton and retired FBI Special Agent John P. O’Neill were killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

In the years since, 16 members of the FBI exposed to toxins and hazardous materials at the attack sites have died due to 9/11-related illnesses: agents Dennis Bonelli, Steven A. Carr, William R. Craig, Brian L. Crews, Laurie Fournier, Jerry D. Jobe, Mark C. Johnston, David J. LeValley, Mark J. Mikulski, Melissa S. Morrow, Robert M. Roth, Gerard D. Senatore, Rex A. Stockham, Paul H. Wilson and Wesley J. Yoo; and electronics technician William “Homer” Lewis.

“Many of our friends,” Tom O’Connor said. “People we worked with every single day, people who sat next to you, are no longer here. They can’t retire. So we are not going into retirement saying ‘this is awful that we have to retire.’ It’s awesome that we get to retire.”

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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