FDNY Chaplain Honored At Annual Remembrance Walk
In a yearly event, firefighters and other first responders gathered Sunday to walk in honor of the FDNY chaplain killed in the attacks. NY1's Nicole Johnson filed the following report.
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They walked to remember; their feet moving forward but their hearts skipping a beat thinking about the all the first responders killed on 9/11.
"Our father was a retired fireman, and our uncle and our grandfather. The firemen are very special to us," said participant Marge Carlson.
And so is Father Mychal Judge, a special man to many. The annual walk of remembrance held Sunday honored the FDNY chaplain who died trying to help with the rescue efforts during the attacks. He was killed by falling debris as he assisted with rescue efforts. He was remembered as a man dedicated to serving others.
"People have asked me 'what type of a man was he?' And the only response that I could give was that he was a walking talking saint," said retired FDNY Captain Jim Ellison. "Not only was he a friend of the firefighters, but to me he was a personal friend."
"Father Judge was a remarkable man," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "Obviously, the whole event, the memorial five years later, we never forget. We never forget our fallen heroes, police officers, firefighters, EMS workers and of course the 2,700 people who lost their lives on that tragic day."
And to make sure those lives are never forgotten, along the way walkers stopped at several firehouses and precincts to pay tribute or just to pray for peace.
For the first time judge's twin sister also participated in the walk. Leading the way was former NYPD detective, Lt. Steven McDonald who was paralyzed by three bullets 20-years ago. He was also a personal friend of Father Judge.
"He knew that his life journey took him here, and he wanted to stay with the men he loved so dearly," said McDonald.
The walkers started in Midtown at a special mass to reflect on the chaplain's work in the church. They then took to the streets making their way to the World Trade Center site, with loved ones in mind.
"Our cousin who passed away on 9/11 firefighter Eric Talb-Olson was from Ladder 15," said participant Drew Taylor.
Some walkers admitted at one point they lost their stride, but with the massive support they say they will continue the walk of remembrance for years to come.
- Nicole Johnson