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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Remembrance: Father Mychal Judge (9/11's First Certified Fatality)

Here's a story that's worth listening to that was recently broadcast on NPR ("Memories Of Sept. 11's First Recorded Casualty Endure"). It's about Father Mychal Judge, who was a Roman Catholic priest, Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York, and 9/11's first official victim.

When he heard that the World Trade Center had been hit, Father Judge rushed to the site where he was met by the New York Mayor (Rudy Giuliani), who asked him to pray for the city and the victims. Father Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets and then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center's North Tower where he continued to offer aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured, and dead. When the South Tower collapsed, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Father Judge.

Shortly after his death, a NYPD lieutenant, who had also been buried in the collapse, found Judge's body and, with the help of two firemen and two civilian bystanders, carried it out of the lobby to nearby St Peter's Church. This event was captured in the documentary film 9/11 (which I wrote about in my previous post). Father Judge was designated "Victim 0001," the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Other victims perished before him including air crew, passengers, and occupants of the towers, but Father Judge was the first certified fatality because his body was the first to be recovered and taken to the coroner.

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