Daughter Graduates From FDNY Academy 13 Years After Dad Died on 9/11

Josephine Smith says her later father would be "so proud."

ByKAMI DIMITROVA, JOSH HASKELL and SUSANNA KIM
November 18, 2014, 4:05 PM

— -- The daughter of a New York City firefighter who was killed on 9/11 graduated today from the Fire Academy, carrying on a family tradition.

Kevin Smith, 47, of Long Island, N.Y., was stationed at Hazmat Co. 1 in Manhattan and rushed with his unit to the World Trade Center, where he and many of his comrades were killed.

"He'd be so proud," said Josephine Smith, 34. "He'd be absolutely proud. He'd be worried. Being a firefighter himself, he knows what goes with the job, but he knows I'd be able to handle it -- how strong I am, mentally and physically."

PHOTO: A portrait of Kevin J. Smith, a New York City firefighter killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the father of Josephine Smith.
A portrait of Kevin J. Smith, a New York City firefighter killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the father of Josephine Smith.
Courtesy Smith Family

Smith said she has always wanted to be a firefighter. After first trying to take the entry test in 2007, she took the test again in 2012.

PHOTO: Newly graduated Probationary Firefighters salute at their graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
Newly graduated Probationary Firefighters salute at their graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
FDNY

"Training was tough -- really tough," she said. "I thought about him when I was tired and wanted to stop. I thought about what he'd say: 'Keep going, keep going, keep pushing.'"

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio honored Smith's father and his sacrifice at the beginning of today's ceremony.

PHOTO: A photo from firefighter.org of Kevin J. Smith, a New York City firefighter killed on 9/11
A photo from firefighter.org of Kevin J. Smith, a New York City firefighter killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the father of Josephine Smith.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

The new firefighter said she had dreamed about graduating but was "nervous" about "walking across the stage, shaking the mayor's hand and getting my plaque."

The thought of her father and "working with my dad everyday" has comforted her, she said.

PHOTO: A drill instructor presents the class at the New York City Fire Department's Probationary Firefighter Graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
A drill instructor presents the class at the New York City Fire Department's Probationary Firefighter Graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
FDNY

"I believe my dad was sitting in the front, front of everybody," she said. "It feels amazing. I accomplished something so big that I wanted to accomplish."

PHOTO: Firefighters give the "Count on Deck" at the New York City Fire Department's Probationary Firefighter Graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
Firefighters give the "Count on Deck" at the New York City Fire Department's Probationary Firefighter Graduation ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 18, 2014.
FDNY

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