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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And it's time again for StoryCorps. We've been hearing from this oral history project as it crisscrosses the country. In New York City, it's gathering interviews from family and friends who lost loved ones at the World Trade Center. StoryCorps wants to collect at least one recording for each of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11th.

Here, Monique Ferrer speaks about Michael Trinidad.

Ms. MONIQUE FERRER: When I met Michael, I was 14 years old and I knew that he was going to be my boyfriend. We got married when I was 19, and we were both kids. We really didn't know what next. You know, get married and now what?

When we were divorced, I remember the kids telling me that their father confided in them with a secret and they didn't want to tell me. And I'm like, well, what's the secret? And they said, well, Daddy still loves you. He doesn't want us to tell you. And I said, well, I know and I love him, too. But Mommy and Daddy have gone their separate ways but we'll always be a family and we'll always be your mom and dad.

On 9/11, I remember getting up to take my daughter - she had a doctor's appointment, so my daughter was home. At 9:04 I got a phone call and it was Michael, and he was calling from the 103rd floor. And the first thing that he said was I'm calling to say goodbye. And I said, why, where are you going? And he said, well, I'm in the building that was just hit by a plane. He just wanted to tell me how much he loved the children. And he says, you know, I also want to tell you that I always loved you. And I said, I know; the kids told me.

And I'm remarried, so I asked my husband to get on the phone. And I thought maybe my husband could talk him into finding an exit. And when my husband got on the phone, he asked my husband if he would be my children's father. And my husband said, you're going to be coming home. You're going to be their dad and I'm their dad, too. And he's like I don't think I'm going to make it.

And my daughter was there and she saw me becoming a little hysterical and I didn't know whether to put her on because I didn't know how he would react. He thought she was at school.

It just really breaks my heart that he's not here for them. It's like the only thing on his mind was to tell the kids that he loved them, and I tell the kids this every day. Everything you do, just think about your dad. And the thing is is that my two children look just like him and they talk like him and they joke like him. So it's like he's there. You know, I see him in them every day. And as much as he used to drive me crazy, he was my family and my best friend.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: That's Monique Ferrer remembering Michael Trinidad. These 9/11 stories will eventually be kept at the World Trade Center Memorial Museum. And all StoryCorps tapes are archived at the Library of Congress. You can schedule your interview at npr.org.

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