Although many of us personally did not know anyone who was murdered by Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001, we have been deeply affected by their deaths. In the days following the terror attack, the life stories and pictures of many of the victims were shared by their loved ones. Through these grief filled, and at times joyous recollections, many Americans felt a connection and bond with the victims that made them feel as if they had known these good people all their lives.
Father Mychal Judge is one of the victims of 9/11 whom I have never forgotten. I never knew him, but in some ways he is as familiar to me as a dear friend. Father Mychal was by all accounts a beautiful Franciscan Catholic priest who performed his role as NYFD chaplain in such a good and brave way that he will never be forgotten. Some people are even calling for his canonization.
After racing to the Twin Towers with his firefighters on that hellish September morning, Father Judge was mortally injured after he entered the lobby of the North Tower to administer last rites to the injured. While ignoring falling debris and putting his own life in jeopardy, Father Mychal continued to give comfort to his own men and ultimately lost his own life.
The picture of Father Judge, shortly after his death, being carried from the North Tower by those he served is haunting and heartbreaking. I will never forget this picture. I will never forget Father Judge and these good men.