First, some background…
On 9/11, a police officer named Moira Smith was helping people exit the stairwell of the WTC2 — the second building hit that morning but the first to collapse. She, of course was killed — the only female officer killed that day.
Officer Smith left behind a husband — also a police officer — and a young daughter. The medal of honor that two-year-old Patricia Smith accepted on behalf of her mother — in the picture on the right, here — is now part of the traveling 9/11 museum.
In 2006 — five years after the attack — seven-year-old Patricia attended the annual Ground Zero memorial ceremony.
Newsday led the next day with that picture.
Patricia lives on Long Island. So for today’s 9/11 anniversary story — two days early for Sunday readership — Newsday checked in with Patrica Smith, now 13 years old. Here is today’s cover, featuring a portrait of Patricia by staffer Audrey C. Tiernan.
And here’s a picture of Patricia holding a framed portrait of her mother, which ran inside. This was also shot by Audrey.
That photo was shot by Newsday‘s Audrey C. Tiernan.
Newday’s Joe Tyrrell reports:
Her mother is a symbol, and so is she. More than 3,000 children under 18 lost a parent in the Sept. 11 attacks.
“When I was little, I really liked the attention — I was a ‘spotlight’ kind of baby,” Patricia said as she rubbed the thick black fur of her 130-pound Bernese mountain dog named Guinness. “I didn’t really know what was going on; I didn’t know why I was being interviewed. They asked me questions about my mom, and I thought that is just what people did.
“But after a while, I started getting the meaning of the questions, and I was, like, I don’t want to do this anymore — this is too hard,” she said. “But then it would always come back to my mom and my mom would’ve been, like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ and I was, like, ‘OK, I will do this.’ ”
While Patricia hardly remembers anything of her mother, she has learned about Moira from stories told by relatives and friends. Her favorite one is about how her mother saved someone who was drowning years before she became a police officer.
Newsday‘s average daily circulation is 397,973.
Today’s front page image is from the Newseum. Of course.