A Wife and Two Children Still Cling to Hope
September 17, 2001
Battalion Chief John Moran was injured, but survived, the Father's Day explosion of an Astoria hardware store that left three other firefighters dead.
Now, Moran's family clings to hope that he will again return home, even though no one has heard from Moran since Tuesday, when his New York City Fire Department Special Operations Command headed toward the blazing World Trade Center towers before their collapse.
"My son is not ready to give up hope, so I'm not going to give up hope, either, says Moran's wife, Kim, as she waits for news with sons Ryan, 7, and Dylan, 4, at their Rockaways home.
Ryan Moran, who attends St. Francis de Sales School in Belle Harbor, says his father is OK. He told his mother, "I think he's all right, Mom. He was all right after the explosion.
"I said, If you think that, I'll just hold onto that, and you just hold onto that, too,' said Kim Moran in a telephone interview yesterday.
But, like most Americans, Ryan wants to know why. "I told him, I just don't know. Nobody knows why. I said I think those people are just a little bit mixed up in their heads, said Kim Moran, an American Airlines flight attendant who was off duty Tuesday.
The couple met on 48th Street in Manhattan, outside Ladder Co. 4, 11 years to the day of the attack. "Sept. 11 of 1990, I was stood up on a date, recalls Kim Moran. "Some guy just didn't show up. I gave up about 10:30, changed into some ... jeans and tennis shoes, and went down to get some pizza for myself and my roommate.
She was living just across from the fire station.
"He was standing on the apron of the firehouse, and I just fell in love with him instantly, Kim Moran said yesterday. "He's the love of my life.
"He's such a wonderful father, a great husband. There's nobody more generous than John, said Kim Moran. "He told my father that, As long as Kim's happy, I'm happy.'
John Moran, 42, plays piano and guitar and sings at the many family gatherings that include his cousin, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights). Last month, the entire clan, 70 strong, attended a family reunion in Montana.
"We'd have a big campfire, and he and his cousin would bring out the guitars, and we'd sing. He loved that guitar. They sang a lot of Irish songs, said Kim Moran. Moran's other hobbies include bike riding, and he regularly takes part in the annual Ragbrai, an Iowa biking tour that draws police officers and firefighters.
Crowley described his cousin, 6 foot 2 inches and 250 pounds, as a "Viking Irishman who has calves thicker than my thighs, the heart of lion and touch of a teddy bear.
"John was destined to be a major player in the fire department, said Crowley. "John was very respected. He had the stature and intellect.
Moran holds a law degree from Fordham University. But practicing law "really wasn't him, said Kim Moran. Instead, John Moran -- son of a firefighter, brother of a firefighter, nephew of a firefighter and cousin of firefighters -- is dedicated to the family occupation, and has risen through its ranks in his 22 years on the job.
On Tuesday at 7 a.m., Moran had finished his 24-hour shift and was "just hanging around his special unit's Roosevelt Island headquarters. "They got the call. He asked Chief Downey if he'd like him to come with him. The chief said, Yea.' He jumped in the truck and away they went. (Downey is also listed among the missing.)
As they sped to the scene, Moran got a cell phone call from his brother, Michael Moran, 38, a firefighter with Ladder Co. 3 in Greenwich Village. Mike Moran was watching the developments on television.
During the telephone conversation, John Moran said he had witnessed the second aircraft hit the towers. "I have a feeling he was on the Queensborough Bridge to be able to see it, said Kim Moran. "That's the way they would go.
"We're going to just keep waiting and hoping. I'm not going to give up, and I know I'm not the only one waiting, she said. "I'll take anything, even if they just find one of those guys. I'd be happy for any other family that gets their loved one back. It's just one more that they didn't take away from us.-- Stephanie Saul (Newsday)