Matthew Barnes, 37 Monroe, NY

Matthew was a firefighter for the NY Fire Dept. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend. His friends remember him as a kind, strong, soft-spoken guy. They reminisce about him skipping school to watch movies, and even before that, playing stick ball with him in his yard. His parents are grieved that he died before they did. No parent ever wants to outlive their child. His wife Sue is raising their boys alone now….that’s not what she had planned. Matthew, you were my age when you died. I will always remember you and not let you just become some name on a list.

You’re number 476, but to me, you’re Matthew Barnes.

You are a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and a friend.

I will always remember….

I was nursing my newborn son in my office at work. My husband called me on the phone and said that I needed to get to a radio or television because a plane had just hit one of the twin towers in New York city where my uncle lives.

I put AJ down in his crib and ran across the hall to my brother’s office and told him to turn on the tv, phone still in hand. We watched in horror at the events unfolding before our eyes. It was only a few minutes later that we saw the second plane fly into the other tower. It was so incredibly surreal….truly like something out of a movie…I just could not believe it was happening.

I stayed glued to the tv for the next 24 hours, from work to home and back again. I just could not stop watching. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to explain everything that was happening to my 4 year old, but I knew it wasn’t the time for full disclosure. So I cried and held my babies. I cried for the families who lost loved ones. I cried for the children that would never see their mommies and daddies again. I cried for the moms and dads who would never see their children again. I cried for all those who lost their lives trying to rescue people. …

I cried for a nation that would forever be changed… I cried for the changes that were still to come….today, I do not cry. Today, I remember the victims and families that were directly impacted by the attacks. I remember the families that are serving today on foreign soil protecting my rights and freedoms. I remember this nation, so long ago founded by men who believed in moral absolutes and thank my God for them.

I will not forget September 11, 2001. I will not let my children forget it. It will always affect me and have an effect on how I live my life from here until I step out into eternity.

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