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Portrait unveiled at NYPD precinct where 9/11 victim Officer Moira Smith served

James Smith, right, widower of NYPD officer Moira

James Smith, right, widower of NYPD officer Moira Smith, looks on as Police Commissioner William Bratton unveils a plaque at the 13th Precinct on Sept. 26, 2014 in her honor. Credit: Bryan Smith

The NYPD experienced the worst of days on Sept. 11, 2001, when it lost 23 officers, including Moira Smith of the 13th Precinct.

But Friday at the precinct building in Manhattan, Smith's family had what her husband, Jim, said was a good day.

At a small ceremony in the precinct's ready room, Commissioner William Bratton, Jim Smith, his daughter Patricia Smith, and other family members unveiled a unique work of art that commemorated Moira Smith, who was killed after she had rushed to the Twin Towers.

Jim Smith, 52, of East Hampton had originally given Bratton the impressionist print by Irish artist James Fitzpatrick while both were at a Sept. 11 commemoration in Israel last spring. The piece features a hazy portrait of Moira behind some red stripes.

Patricia Smith, 15, said the print "definitely portrays" her mother, who died when the girl was 2, well.

Bratton was so taken with the work that he thought it should be shared with the precinct's officers.

"I thought it much more appropriate than hanging it on the 14th floor of police headquarters," Bratton said, referring to his office. "It would be much more appropriate here, in the 13th Precinct, her precinct."

Speaking at the roll call for officers getting ready to go on duty, Bratton said he hoped the portrait would remind cops of the ultimate sacrifice Smith paid. Officials said news photographs from that day showed Smith helping people escape the area of Two World Trade Center.

"None of us at the start of the day know what it is going to be like," Bratton said, referring to the uncertainty of a cop's job.

In 2006, when she was 7, Patricia Smith, wearing a pink dress and holding a red rose, spoke at the Sept. 11 memorial, with her photograph shown around the world. It troubles her that she has no memories of her mother.

"I really can't remember that much, actually I can't remember at all, no matter how hard I try," Patricia said about her mother. "But at least I know stories, I have people who tell me these incredible stories of bad moments and good moments."

Of the newly unveiled portrait, Patricia said "it is a very proud moment."

Jim Smith, who retired from the NYPD in 2006, said the take-away from life as a cop was "you have to do the right thing and know you might not come home."

The 13th Precinct also lost Officer Robert Fazio, 41, on Sept. 11. Plaques honoring him and Smith, as well as two other officers who died in the line of duty over the years, are displayed in the precinct lobby.

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