Radioed by FDNY Battalion Chief Matthew Ryan at 8:46 AM local time:
“A plane has crashed into the trade center. Transmit a second alarm and start sending additional companies into the area.”
Less than 20 minutes later, FDNY Chaplain Mychal Judge, bottle of holy water in hand, entered the debris to tend to firefighter Danny Suhr, who had been killed by a body falling from the tower. When Father Judge removed his helmet to administer to the fallen firefighter, he was struck and killed by falling debris.
He was found by five men who carried the fallen Father 2 city blocks, placing his body in front of the altar of St Peter’s Church. He was covered with a white sheet and his priest’s stole, then his helmet and badge were placed on his chest.
This is an image that will remain with me for the rest of my days. The respect shown by these 5 men who took a fallen brother home stops me in my tracks every time I imagine myself seeking solace in that church on Barclay street. The doors bursting open and these five men carrying a lifeless body to the alter, showing their respects, then returning to help others. I was not there, but I can imagine the raw emotion.
Father Judge was later moved to Engine 1, where his car was housed.
Hidden in all the “Never Forget” and “343” stickers and T-shirts are thousands of tales of heroism and bravery, brotherhood and citizenship. Learn one. Pass it along to others.
May 11, 1933 – September 11, 2001