TSN Notes: An Unbreakable Spirit

The article was first published in The Sporting News of September 24, 2001.

There is a friary near St. Paul’s Church. Francis of Assisi on New 31 Street Street in New York. A friary is a house built of stone due to the blackness of the city. There, the Revs. Mychal Judge served 15 years. The priest’s room was small and light. She had a desk, a chair and a bed that turned into a bed.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, the priest left the room to do what his God had told him to do.

There was a fire. It was a fire that no one had ever seen before. The plane had collided with the World Trade Center, landing on the north tower, with fire and smoke rising from the wound. Before anyone knew what had happened, before anyone knew about the second plane, before anyone knew what had happened, firefighters from the 31st Street firehouse did what firefighters did. He ran to hell.

Those firefighters knew the priest across the street was “Father Mike.” He was 68 years old. His hair was white and his cheeks were white. His friend, Harry Ryttenberg, told a Washington Post Mr. Mike’s face was “an Irish map.” On another occasion, working with the city police, the priest talked about the officer who had given him the bullets. He said, “We must stop the burden of hatred. We must move forward.”

It would be better if we could do that.

Hatred set ablaze at the World Trade Center in Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. President Bush says we are at war. It seems that more Americans were killed in these wars than in any other country in our day. On the very last day of the Civil War, 3,620 men were killed in Antietam. If the death toll of September 11 reaches 5,000, and perhaps, more Americans will die in one day in New York than in all those who died but five years of bloodshed during the Vietnam War.

Hundreds of our dead were firefighters, men and women whose courage and dedication were so great that when people fled the fire, they rushed into it. The World Trade Center buildings burned to the ground 1,800 degrees Celsius fueled by jet fuel. What would happen if the elevators stopped working and the fire was 80 stories on the road? Fact: Firefighters, fully armed, begin to climb the stairs to get there.

Mr. Mike was there. He left the friary and went five minutes to the West Side Highway. The fireman for many years, did his job.

He knelt by the side of a firefighter who was killed when a man who fell from the house hit him. He gave the man the last rites.

Then the debris that fell on the tower rained down on both of them.

At zero ground, there was panic. Visual account from Richard Bodmer, national account manager Sports News, a former Navy firefighter and rescue officer who volunteered to work with the EMS team: “It was more dangerous than I could describe. What you saw on TV did not begin to tell the story. There were fire trucks covered in ashes and dust, and you know their boys are gone. One EMS ambulance was running without anyone there. It was very, very destructive. Before I understood what I was seeing, we were moving the body of a police officer who had been crushed by a piece of house to death. ”

Soon, Bodmer saw more.

“The strangest thing was the culture of an army of men who did not know each other. They came from all over, and their spirit was amazing. There is no fear, just one. The dangers that should kill our soul, did not. It did the opposite. I saw respect, pride, integrity, courage. These were united Americans. If you weren’t a patriot, you would have seen this. ”

Joan Fiesta, an Illinois police officer, feels that her only desire to help him is work. “I was wrong,” she wrote in an email. “It was inspiring in America, inspiring to the people.” He went to a blood bank and was told to return at another time because the bank had already started. Each time, he finds “humanity, kindness and care… As I watch our New York firefighters pull souls out of the rubble of the towers, our spirits grow.”

On a regular week, Fiesta said, they would be playing a college football game. He thought it would be nice last week for people to “sit together, sing the national anthem proudly, and watch American sports.” It is true that it is all Americans who raise the flag and raise the prayer and reach out to those we love. It would also be nice, to give up what Mr. Mike called the property of hatred.

Firefighters found the priest dead. He was carried from the ruins to St. Peter’s Church. Peter. There he prayed for a man who had prayed for many of them. Then, they took him away from the church and took him to the streets and took him to the 31st Street firehouse and took him to the friary.

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