First Victim

There are different kinds of heroes in this world. There are those who rush in, while others are rushing out. There are those who sacrifice so others may live. And there are those who offer comfort and hope to those who have no comfort, no hope.

Upon hearing the news that the World Trade Center had been hit, Fr. Mychal Judge, chaplain of the New York Fire Department,  rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani,  who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered last rights to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers and the injured, giving comfort where he could.

Fr. Judge’s last act was to anoint a fallen firefighter, Daniel Suhr, after which he went back to the command post. When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 AM, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. “He was a man for all seasons — even a season of tragedy,” said Prof. James R. Kelly, a sociologist at Fordham University. For all people, he said, Father Judge’s death while ministering to firefighters in the heart of horror was the perfect image of selflessness. ”It gives a deep coherence to the whole tragic event,” Dr. Kelly added.

Shortly after his death, an NYPD Police Lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge’s body and assisted by two firemen and a civilian bystander carried it out of the North Tower lobby to nearby St. Peter’s Church where his body bag was labeled Victim 0001. Shannon Stapleton’s photograph of this event became one of the most famous images of the attack on the Twin Towers.



Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.

Prayer of Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM (Order of Friars Minor)
Chaplain, NYFD
First official recorded victim 9/11 attack

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