GERARD BARBARA: A Dad and Yankees
Sept. 11, scores of well wishers have packed the small
Staten Island home of Gerard Barbara, assistant chief of
the New York Fire Department. Mr. Barbara's wife and two
children recognize many of the faces, but not all of
them. In an odd twist, they end up consoling some of the
visitors, who appear lost. Many just want to hang on to
any memory of the chief, who was widely respected and
loved for his humanitarian spirit, said his wife,
"People I've never seen before are saying, `You don't
understand, I loved your dad,' " said a son, Paul, 23. "I
say, I do understand, he was my dad!' "
Mr. Barbara, 53, a 31-year veteran of the Fire
Department, was one of the city's highest-ranking
supervisors. He was walking toward the lobby of the
second trade center tower when the building
Paul said that when he and his sister, Caren, were
growing up, they had no idea that their father was an
important member of the Fire Department, because he was
just a dad who was wild about the Yankees.
Caren said: "If the terrorists think they have won,
they haven't. This whole thing just drove my dad deeper
into our hearts. He died doing one of the things he liked
best, trying to save people."