Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A ... more 
Rescue workers carry mortally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge from the wreckage after he was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to another victim. A Roman Catholic priest, a recovering alcoholic, a gay man, and -- as an FDNY chaplain a spiritual adviser and trusted friend to countless firefighters through the years -- "Father Mike" was the first recorded victim of the September 11 attacks. Photographer Shannon Stapleton's picture, which burns with immediacy and yet somehow feels composed, almost painterly, captures much of the day's intense incongruities in one sombre frame: the intimacy of witnessing a single death in the midst of a monumental catastrophe; brilliant sunlight shining on the chaplain's lifeless hands; devastated first responders shrugging off exhaustion, racing to the aid of helpless victims. Here is the best, and the very worst, of that day.

(Photo: SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters /Landov )

For the full photo collection, go to LIFE.com less 
1 / 25
Fri, Sep 9, 2011 7:29 PM EDT