Gerard Barbara

Monday, September 09, 2002

To my Sweetie:

If my life was like a book, it would start as a love story between two teen-agers. A couple that grew up together, that had good values and commitment, but with a thirst for adventure and fun. They became parents who gave roots as well as wings to their children. He became a Dad that loved his kids so much that he reluctantly encouraged them to leave home and start adventures of their own.

Then there was a time for them to be a couple again and enjoy simple pleasures. A time for him to reap his fruits of labor. All those years of working and studying to rise up through the ranks. A time for them to enjoy a different stage of life.

The fiction begins on September 11, because no one could even imagine that horror and destruction. So many lives destroyed. So many couples that will never have the life we did for 30 years. My heart breaks for them as well.

My life has started a different chapter now. My life without my companion, my friend, my love. My life without him beside me but always in my heart.

I am the widow of Citywide Tour Commander Gerard Barbara, Incident Commander of Tower No. 2, never recovered.

Every minute of every day my heart aches for my sweetie, and somehow I am trying to fulfill the dreams that we had for our children Caren and Paul.

But now I'm doing it alone.

Love Always,


Editor's Note: This letter was written by Joanne Barbara in memory of her husband of 30 years, Gerard Barbara, 53, of West Brighton. Assistant Deputy Chief Barbara was a 31-year veteran of the Fire Department. His experience and leadership made him an obvious choice to lead the rescue effort inside Tower 2, a duty assigned to him by Chief of Department Peter Ganci Jr. in the minutes after the attack.