It’s been my custom to commemorate 9/11 by taking my Portraits 9/11/01 off the shelf and opening it at random to read some of the obituaries the New York Times so admirably collected of those who died on 9/11. Monuments are great markers of tragedy, but only obituaries provide a glimpse of the lives that were lost. As always, I am struck by how in the midst of their lives the victims were, and I cherish learning a little about them.

This time I opened the book more deliberately to see if I could find NYPD officer Moira Smith, as Investor’s Business Daily had featured her in their weekend edition. Moira Smith had raced back into the towers, saved hundreds of lives and lost her own, leaving behind her husband and two-year-old daughter. Oddly, she is not listed in my Portraits 9/11/01–alas, it turns out, this collection is not complete. In any case, I did read around a bit this morning. Each obituary gives only a snippet of a life but it does drive home the fact that so many worlds were destroyed that day.

Here are just a few headlines:

Paul K. Sloan – Always There For You (26 years old)

Stanley Smagala Jr. – Looking Foward to Baby (36)

Catherine Smith – Pepe Le Pew and Penelope (44)

George Smith – Crazy for His Grandmother (28)

James Gregory Smith – “Ready to Bite a Bear” (43)

Jeffrey Randal Smith – Miami and Medieval Poems (36)

Karl Smith – Boating and Breakfast (44)


May their memory be for a blessing.