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Moira Smith
Age: 38
Occupation: Police Officer
Worked for: NYPD
Originally from: Brooklyn
Resided in:
Submitted by: Irish Tribute ()

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From Irish Echo, Feb 20 2002
'Farewell to lone Female NYPD victim'

On what would have been her 39th birthday, mourners laid to rest police officer Moira Smith last Thursday, the only female officer of the 23 NYPD members killed by the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11. Smith's husband, James, also a police officer, led mourners with the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Patricia. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly attended with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki. Earlier in the day, James and Patricia had christened a NY Waterway ferry after Moira. Alongside the name Moira Smith on the side of the ferry was clearly emblazoned the symbol of the Claddagh, the ancient Irish symbol of love, loyalty and friendship, with its heart surrounded by two hands and topped with a crown. Smith showed those who gathered with him for the launch of the ferry his own Claddagh ring, tearfully recalling that Moira had worn one as well. The ferry will plow the waters of the East River between Pier 11 at the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn piers and the East 90th Street dock. Outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, an honor guard of hundreds of police officers and firefighters lined Fifth Avenue for Smith's funeral, before filing inside for the funeral Mass. The officers stood to attention and hundreds of white-gloved hands saluted Smith and his Patricia. The NYPD's Emerald Society Pipes and Drums led the funeral procession into St. Patrick's Cathedral. The crowd that filled almost six blocks of Fifth Avenue inspired James Smith to note that recently he had watched the Wizard of Oz with his daughter. "The Wizard told the Tin Man that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others," Smith said. Looking at the crowd of more than 1,500 seated, with many more standing in the entrance and outside, he concluded that Moira must have had a very big heart. Commissioner Kelly, in his remarks, recalled that Moira had been many miles from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 but had come rushing to the scene to help. A dramatic photograph of her was captured by a New York Daily News photographer. It shows Smith helping an injured man out of the towers while calling for help for him. After she found medical assistance for the man, she went back into the towers to help others but did not survive the collapse. Kelly told the crowd that Moira exemplified the NYPD spirit on that day. "They changed history," Kelly said. "They changed that day from one of total defeat and devastation to one of rescue and triumph."
-- Anon (Friend { })
21 Feb 2002

A Requiem For A Hero
Niall O'Dowd and Georgina Brennan
SERGEANT Noel Firth well remembers his first day in the Police Academy in New York in July of 1988. The attractive fellow rookie he met on that day was Moira Reddy, like him the child of Irish emigrants, and determined to be a top cop. "She was always smiling, laughing, easygoing, but you knew she was serious behind it all. She wanted to get ahead in the job."

It wasnBt easy being a woman in a still overwhelmingly male profession, but Moira had learned from her parents and her Brooklyn upbringing just how to take care of herself.

They both graduated in December of 1988 and they ended up as transit cops policing the subways, which back then had very high crime rates "She was a good cop who was always on top of things," he says.

Then on August 28, 1991 the worst subway accident in 63 years occurred on their beat. Five people were killed and more than 200 injured when a southbound No. 4 train ran a red light and derailed just North of Union Square.

Noel Firth and Moira Reddy were among the first to arrive. The damage looked catastrophic and, through an extraordinary foul-up, the electricity had not been turned off which meant that the third rail was live. This made any rescue operation very hazardous as they were also splashing around in water.

Firth and Reddy did not hesitate to throw themselves into the rescue effort. "There were an awful lot of people dazed, several seriously hurt and many we knew we could do nothing for," Firth recalls.

They spent much of the night ferrying people out from under the subway carnage to safety. Firth remembers ReddyBs "extraordinary courage" and her willingness to go back again and again to save people. "She was one brave cop," he says now.

For her efforts she was awarded the Distinguished Duty Medal. Three years later she was in the news again when she helped rescue several people when a bomb exploded in a subway car on Fulton Street,

Moira Ann Reddy had always shown a special kind of dedication to getting the job done and helping others. She was born in Brooklyn on ValentineBs Day February 14, 1963 to John Reddy, from Dublin, and Mary Finn. She had one sister, Mary Elizabeth.

-- Douglas Dalby (Friend {Irish Voice, Feb 2002})
21 Feb 2002

From age five when she went to kindergarten in PS 170 with her best friend Kathleen Conaghan, Moira was the center of attention, and already an activist.

In fifth grade at our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park she petitioned the parish priest. "She wanted him to allow women to be altar servers," says her friend, Cathy Gallogoly.

While other kids played with dolls and Barbie toys Moira loved spy games and pretending she was a cop pursuing criminals. She particularly enjoyed stakeouts, her friends remember.

Childhood friend Kathleen said, "As teenagers we were CharlieBs Angels, me, Moira and Cathy."

Perhaps it was because her neighborhood was full of serving and retired cops, but early on in her life she informed everyone that she was going to join the NYPD. For a woman at the time it was an unusual ambition.

On St. PatrickBs Day Moira, her friends remember, was the most enthusiastic Irish person in the neighborhood. Once, while making their way to the parade as youngsters she bought a button saying "Honorary Irishman." When she found out what honorary meant she was disgusted and ripped it off, remembered Cathy.

In September of 1981 Moira set out for Niagara University along with her friend Kathleen. But even after graduation and work in the travel business she was still determined to become a cop. She fulfilled that dream in 1998.

"She loved being a police officer and thrived in that position," says her niece and god-daughter Allison Reddy. "She always ended her conversations by saying BI love you,B so we were never left in doubt."

Moira was working at Transit Police District Four when she met a cop called Jim Smith. She introduced herself by taking off his Yankees hat and throwing it across the room.

Their first date was ValentineBs Day 1992. They went to a New York Rangers game. As Jim remembers, they both fell in love, he with her and she with one of the Rangers players. Thus began their love affair, which culminated in marriage in May of 1998.

Jim remembers a woman who above all loved to travel and experience the world to the full. He remembers that she ran with the bulls in Spain, played roulette in Monte Carlo and rode a camel in North Africa. But she loved nothing better than to drag friends and family off on trips around the U.S. in her Winnebago van. "Her idea of a romantic holiday was to bring six or seven people instead of the usual 15," said Jim.

On July 20, 1999, Moira gave birth to Patricia Mary. It was the happiest day of her life. Right from the beginning, her friends recall, she was besotted with her baby and her life, with a career she loved and a happy marriage. Then came September 11.

Smith was among the first officers to report that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and that she was on her way with her partner. Once there, she immediately began helping people. She never backed off even for a moment. "Honor and duty required it, MoiraBs personal faith demanded it" says her husband.

James Smith has learned that his wife led countless people out of the wreckage on the day. There is a now-famous photograph of Moira leading a bleeding man to safety before heading back into the inferno.

-- anonymous (Friend {})
21 Feb 2002

She was in Tower Two and, despite the enormous danger, she kept at her job. A trader with the firm Eurobrokers later recalled her as "intense, but calm" her blue eyes steady, her voice very even. "DonBt look, keep moving" she kept telling people as bodies crashed all around them and the building began to fall apart.

Because of her commands, people kept moving where otherwise they might have frozen in terror. She is credited with saving hundreds of lives.

When the Towers collapsed, Moira Smith was still in radio contact but soon all contact ceased and, despite a massive search, her body was not recovered.

As her colleague Lissa Novarro says: "She could have saved herself but nothing would have stopped her saving one more person. Hero is the first word that comes to mind." Moira Smith was just 38 years old.

-- anonymous (Friend {})
21 Feb 2002

A Fond Farewell

ON a frigid, windy but sun-filled February day, more than five months after September 11, the memorial service for Police Officer Moira Smith was finally held. Over 10,000 police officers of every rank and station filled St. PatrickBs Cathedral to overflowing and spilled outside.

As the officers filed past on their way into the church it seemed every second officer had an Irish surname. Fahey, Murphy, Hynes, OBBrien, Murphy, Clarke, Maguire, FitzPatrick, Curtin, the list went on and on.

The brotherhood and sisterhood of police officers was also on display. They came from London, Toronto, California and Malden Massachusetts, from Florida, Alabama and Colorado. When an officer goes down, the nationwide police community treats it like the death of one of their own.

Patricia Smith, all of two years old, was carried into the church by her father, Officer James Smith, the husband of the deceased.

Wearing a green velvet dress, she had a giddy smile on her face from all the attention. There was an impish air about her, as there is with all two-year-olds. Relatives, friends and policemen formed a protective cocoon around the husband and daughter as they made their way up the aisle.

Every time the closed circuit cameras caught the little girl during the services, there was a collective intake of breath and many of the most hardened members of the NYPD wiped away tears. At one point she wandered up and down the aisles, smiling at faces she knew and the camera caught her laughing face as she shook her brown curly hair.

It was Police Commissioner Ray Kelly who caught the bravery of the missing woman best. Kelly pointed out that Moira Smith was miles away from Ground Zero when the planes hit but she had rushed to the scene and helped victims before returning to her precinct and organizing another group of rescuers. That group included herself and her partner, Robert Fazio, who would both lose their lives.

Kelly said it was not a surprise that Smith went back in again and again, She had already proven her bravery several times during her career "No words can comfort her family now, but we pledge to honor her memory by never forgetting her," he said.

James Smith remembered his wifeBs love for their daughter and how they all watched the Wizard of Oz hundreds of times.

It was only after MoiraBs death that he had come to appreciate one of the morals of that much beloved tale.

"The Wizard told the Tin Man that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others," he said, adding that, judging by the massive attendance, Moira must have been loved indeed

Afterwards the dignitaries and the 10,000 cops streamed out of the service and lined up opposite the church. Then, as a hush fell, the family came outside and faced the honor guard.

The trumpet players, perched on a stand across the street in the shadow of the Rockefeller Center played the "Last Post" and a perfect silence followed on Fifth Avenue for a few fleeting moments

Then with loving care and no little ceremony the American flag was carried to the family and presented to the little girl, and her father.

She looked up at her daddy as he held the flag for her, her little hand grasping one corner of it with a quizzical smile on her face.

-- anonymous (Friend {})
21 Feb 2002

From NY Daily News, Mar 21, 2002

t was a little before 5 a.m. when the phone rang at the home of NYPD Lt. Charlie Barbuti with the news about Moira Smith.

Barbuti, the hero cop's former supervisor at the 13th Precinct, considered Smith more a close friend than an underling.

"They found Moira," said the voice at the other end.

By then, the 13-year NYPD veteran B the only female city police officer killed in the line of duty Sept. 11 B had been gingerly wrapped in an American flag before an honor guard carried her out.

"We finally found her, we brought her out of there," Barbuti said yesterday. "No civilized army in the world ever left its dead on the battlefield. The good Lord found it in his heart that we could find her and put some closure to this."

Recovery workers had spotted the glint of Smith's collar brass, a tiny "13" signifying her precinct, in the rubble at Ground Zero shortly before 4 a.m.

Using hand rakes, two Port Authority cops sifting through the debris in the collapsed lobby of the south tower dug a little deeper and came across a dented badge with dust caked between its numbers: 10467.

An honor guard B Barbuti, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Chief of Department Joseph Esposito, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, Manhattan South trustee John Flynn, her husband's uncle Buster Smith and a group of fellow 13th Precinct cops B was soon there to bring her home.

The group trudged silently through the morning's harsh wind and pelting predawn rain, carrying her remains out of the collapsed towers, past recovery workers with bowed heads, and placed her on the back of the Emergency Service Unit's Truck 1.

A caravan of patrol cars with flashing lights and wailing sirens followed the truck as it made its way out of Ground Zero, up the FDR Drive and finally past the 13th Precinct stationhouse on E. 21st St., where 40 of Smith's fellow officers stepped outside and saluted the fallen cop for the last time.

It was a ritual the NYPD has performed for 12 of its 23 officers recovered at Ground Zero since Sept. 11.

Smith's husband, Jim, a cop assigned to the Police Academy, was in Florida with the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Patricia, when his wife was found.

Friends said he left his Queens home to avoid St. Patrick's Day because it was one of the couple's favorite holidays. He and his little girl flew back to New York last night.

"He needed to get away," said one friend. "It's still very hard."

She Saved Dozens

Kelly said Smith was miles from the burning towers on the morning of the attack but rushed to the scene, gathered victims and witnesses, and brought them back to the 13th Precinct stationhouse.

Then she and a group of cops B including her partner, Robert Fazio B returned to the carnage.

A Daily News photograph showed Smith leading a bloodied man to safety, one of dozens of lives she is believed to have saved before she and her partner were killed in the collapse of Tower 2.

"She was a pretty remarkable person," Kelly said, adding that yesterday was a solemn morning for him. "This is not an easy process for anyone."
-- Anon (Friend { })
21 Mar 2002

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