When Monica Rodriquez Smith woke to report to the World Trade Center, she was aglow with excitement and eagerly anticipating motherhood. She was expecting her first child, a boy, and that day, February 26, 1993, was to be her last day of work before taking maternity leave. She and her husband, Edward Smith, had recently renovated their home in Seaford, Long Island and set up the baby’s room. They were ready.
Smith loved her job at the World Trade Center. In fact, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey employee had never taken a sick day in the eleven years that she had worked there as an administrator in the operations department--a milestone the PANYNJ had recently honored.
Her job also led to her meeting her husband, Edward, when he made a sales call to her office. Edward pursued her for two years before she agreed to a date. The couple eventually married and moved to the Long Island home Edward grew up in.
Born in Ecuador, Monica had immigrated to the United States with her parents and four brothers. “My wife was the embodiment of the American Dream,” said Smith in a tribute to his wife on the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s website. He further described her as, “A vivacious, outgoing person who was full of energy. She was the life of the party. At the same time, she was a natural mom to the people around her.”
The dreams Monica and Edward had for their new family were dashed when at 12:18 p.m. a terrorist cell detonated a van packed with explosives in the basement levels of the WTC, killing Monica, her baby, and five others.
A white rose placed on the 9/11 Memorial honors what would have been Monica’s 59th birthday. Her son, who would have been named Eddie after his father, would be turning 24.
By Jenny Pachucki, 9/11 Memorial Content Strategist