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Mychal Judge & Mark Bingham

Mychal F. Judge, OFM (born Robert Emmet Judge on May 11, 1933; died September 11, 2001) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York and the first certified fatality of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

On September 11, 2001, upon learning that the World Trade Center had been hit by the first of two jetliners, Judge rushed to the site. He was met by the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, who asked him to pray for the city and its victims. Judge administered the Last Rites to some lying on the streets, then entered the lobby of the World Trade Center North Tower, where an emergency command post was organized. There he continued offering aid and prayers for the rescuers, the injured and dead.

When the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am, debris went flying through the North Tower lobby, killing many inside, including Judge. At the moment he was struck in the head and killed, Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, "Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!", according to Judge's biographer and New York Daily News columnist Michael Daly.

Shortly after his death, an NYPD lieutenant found Judge's body. He and two firemen, an FDNY Emergency Medical Technician detailed to the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and one civilian bystander then carried Judge's body out of the North Tower. This event was captured in the documentary film 9/11, shot by Jules and Gedeon Naudet. Shannon Stapleton, photographer from Reuters, photographed Judge's body being carried out of the rubble by the five men. It became one of the most famous images related to 9/11. The Philadelphia Weekly reported that the photograph is "considered an American Pietà." Judge’s body was laid before the altar of St. Peter’s Catholic church before being taken to the medical examiner.


The name of Fire Chaplain Mychal Judge is seen among those of other first responders on Panel S-18 of the South Pool of the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan, as seen on December 6, 2011. This photo was created by Luigi Novi.

Mychal Judge was designated as "Victim 0001" and thereby recognized as the first official victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Other victims died before him including air crew, passengers, and occupants of the towers, but Judge was the first certified fatality because his was the first body to be recovered and taken to the medical examiner.

Judge's body was formally identified by NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, a long-time friend. The New York Medical Examiner found that Judge died of "blunt force trauma to the head".

Following his death a few of his friends and associates revealed that Judge was gay – as a matter of orientation rather than practice, as he was a celibate priest. According to fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen: "I actually knew about his homosexuality when I was in the Uniformed Firefighters Association. I kept the secret, but then he told me when I became commissioner five years ago. He and I often laughed about it, because we knew how difficult it would have been for the other firemen to accept it as easily as I had. I just thought he was a phenomenal, warm, sincere man, and the fact that he was gay just had nothing to do with anything."

Judge was a long-term member of Dignity, a Catholic LGBT activist organization that advocates for change in the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. On October 1, 1986, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an encyclical, On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, which declared homosexuality to be a "strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil". In response, many bishops, including John Cardinal O'Connor, banned Dignity from diocesan churches under their control. Judge then welcomed Dignity's AIDS ministry to the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, which is under the control of the Franciscan friars, thereby partially circumventing the cardinal's ban of Dignity.

Judge disagreed with official Roman Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality, though by all accounts he remained celibate. Judge often asked, "Is there so much love in the world that we can afford to discriminate against any kind of love?"

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mychal_Judge

Mark Kendall Bingham (May 22, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an American public relations executive who founded his own company, the Bingham Group. During the September 11 attacks in 2001 he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham is believed to have been one of the passengers who, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers, and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, and all of the passengers' deaths.

Both for his heroic actions on United 93, as well as his athletic physique and masculine lifestyle, Bingham has been widely honored posthumously for having "smashed the gay stereotype mold and really opened the door to many others that came after him."

On the morning of September 11, Bingham overslept and nearly missed the flight, on his way to San Francisco to be an usher in his fraternity brother Joseph Salama's wedding. He arrived at the Terminal A at 7:40am, ran to Gate 17, and was the last passenger to board, taking seat 4D, next to passenger Tom Burnett. During the hijacking, he phoned his mother, reporting that his plane had been hijacked and relaying his love for her.

Bingham was survived by his parents, stepmother and his boyfriend of six years, Paul Holm, who said that Bingham had risked his life to protect the lives of others before 9/11. He had twice successfully protected Holm from attempted muggings, one at gunpoint. Holm described Bingham as a brave, competitive man, saying, "He hated to lose — at anything."He was known to proudly display a scar he received after being gored at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.


The name of Mark Bingham is seen among those of other 9/11 victims from United Airlines Flight 93 inscribed on bronze panel S-67 of the South Pool of the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan, on December 6, 2011. This photo was created by Luigi Novi.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Barbara Boxer honored Bingham on September 17, 2001, in a ceremony for San Francisco Bay Area victims of the attacks, presenting a folded American flag to Paul Holm.

The 2012 feature-length documentary With You focuses on Bingham and the bond he had with his mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant who, following his death, became a nationally known authority on airline safety and a champion of LGBT rights. Directed by Scott Gracheff, the film relies on the vast amount of video footage Bingham himself shot beginning in his teens until weeks before his death. The film's title is a popular rugby term, and one of Bingham's favorite expressions.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Bingham

Further Readings:

Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail by Davina Kotulski Ph.D.
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 23, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453639713
ISBN-13: 978-1453639719
Amazon: Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail
Amazon Kindle: Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail

Love Warriors is a comprehensive reader on the same-sex marriage movement, outlining the rights, benefits and protections marriage provides and the real-life harm caused by marriage discrimination. Kotulski affirms that advancing equality for LGBT people is part of the American legacy of expanding human rights and upholding cherished values. Love Warriors is perfect for veteran supporters and those still on the fence. "Love Warriors illustrates how society is best served when all loving couples who want to settle down are all able to do so through the civil institution of marriage." -Mark Leno, California Leader "Love Warriors is powerful and educates us to see our common humanity. Equality in marriage is a human rights issue. Read this book and get engaged for justice!" -Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Leader and Co-Founder of the United Farm Workers "Evolve toward a more enlightened understanding of marriage equality." -Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., author, The Conscious Parent "A must-read for anyone concerned about equality and justice. If you aren't a Love Warrior before reading this book, you will be when you're done." -Ed Fallon, Former Iowa State Represenative "If you want your opinions about the most important social issue of our time based on reason and facts this book is your MUST READ." -Don Clark, Ph.D. author, Loving Someone Gay

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Tags: gay classics, leader: mark bingham, leader: mychal judge
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