Melissa Rose Barnes was the family clown, no doubt about it. When her sister, Jennifer, was sick with lupus, for instance, she dressed up in disco clothes and jumped around the house doing John Travolta imitations — just like a kid, except that she was 25 at the time.
“She’d make her sister die laughing,” said Barnes’s mother, Linda Sheppard, from her Redlands, Calif., home. “She was really outgoing and bubbly, always up for a good time.”
Barnes, who was known as Mel, was scheduled to leave her posting at the Naval Command Center at the Pentagon in October for her first seaborne assignment. The 27-year-old was killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
“She was proud to serve her country and proud to wear her uniform,” Sheppard said. “If she had lived, she would have been a lifer.”
When Barnes wasn’t making her sister laugh or dressing up as a tarot card reader for Halloween, she was likely to be at the beach or dancing and having a little wine with friends, Sheppard said. Sitting still was not part of her repertoire.
Barnes counted many people on the East and West coasts as friends, including her stepfather, Jim.
“She was a person not easy to forget,” her mother said. “So beautiful, so vibrant. You could not ignore her.”
We honor you, Melissa Barnes.