Police officer Moira Smith was the only female NYPD officer to die on Sept. 11, 2001.
Twenty years after the terrorist attack, the men she helped save and the husband she left behind remember her heroism.
Get daily news, weather, and breaking news alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here!
An iconic photograph taken that day showed Smith as she helped a bloody and battered Ed Nicholls outside the World Trade Center.
He was one of the few people who made it out of the South Tower Sky Lobby alive.
“She grabbed ahold of me and was helping me over to this area, to just sit down on the sidewalk and wait for an ambulance,” Nicholls remembered.
After that photograph, Smith went inside the World Trade Center to help as many people as she could.
Martin Glynn met her on the Plaza Level.
“She was barking out instructions. ‘Don’t look! Don’t look! Keep moving, don’t use your cellphone. Keep moving!'” he said.
Glynn said he she was firm but reassuring. As he tried to look at the devastation outside, she blocked him.
“In that moment we had a second of direct and intense eye contact,” he said.
“I got about five minutes away when the building went down. I turned around just to see the building go down. I thought of her right away,” he said.
Smith’s husband, Jim, a fellow police officer, would go on to raise their 2-year-old daughter Patricia without her.
“To see the person she has become, it’s just, like, the greatest joy in my life,” Jim Smith said in the shadow of the playground named after his wife.
The playground in Madison Square Park was dedicated to Moira Smith in 2012. It’s part of the 13th Precinct, where she used patrol. Smith said it’s the perfect tribute.
“I enjoy coming here and seeing the kids play. It’s an oasis in the city,” he said.
When Jim Smith looks at the last picture ever taken of his wife, “I see the courage in her face, the empathy for the injured man.”
Jim Smith said his late wife lives on in their daughter. She is kind, intelligent and strong, just like her mom.