Nancy Ryan Barnes
I arrived to work at my New York dental office that beautiful morning and as I parked the car I heard on the radio that the World Trade Center was hit by a plane. I continued to see patients throughout the day and watched the news on breaks. When I returned home I contacted a friend, Winnie Furnari who was a first responder with the New York Forensic Society. I became a volunteer on September 13, 2001 and worked at the Chief Medical Examiners office in New York till June 10, 2010. There were a number of jobs for the Dental ID team to work on . I remember the first day meeting with family members that arrived at our office they wanted to find their loved ones and gave us combs, lip stick, toothbrushes andything that may have had DNA. We discussed the need for dental radiographs. i held them and told them that we would try and help the best we could , this process would take many many months. Our roles were varied but no matter what professional degree the volunteers held they were committed to help and not to ask for anything in return. I worked closely with the team and was able to assit in the identification of a number of individuals. The Dental Identification Team , headed by Dr. J Burkes, under the Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Hirsch , was responsible for positivily identifiying over 950 individuals. The volunteers came from all over the tri state area and from Chicago, Ohio, California and Canada. The driving force for us all was to help the families find their loved ones and bring closure to this tragedy. I witnessed firsthand the untiring work that our dental and medical community into the goal of identification. Thousands of hours were contributed with 24 hour shifts for months and months.
I have attend the ceramony at Ground Zero every year but two since I moved to Sunset Beach in 2003. I am in New York for th e10th Anniversary and will be with many other Dental volunteers at Memorial Park which is on the same street as the Office of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner. In this refrigerated building lie the unidentified remains of the victims of that day. They will be entombed in the World Trade Ceter(WTC) Memorial at Ground Zero .
This is a day and a time that I will never forget . i pray for all those that I worked with and the families who are still in pain. The people of our coutry came together as one following this horror and we as a nation need to do this again. The anniversary of 9/11 is a reminder.