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A hero firefighter who risked his life rescuing his fellow New Yorkers at the World Trade Center, died November 29, 2004 fighting his country's enemies in Iraq.
On the day he was murdered by a coven of cowards, the flag that Sgt. Chris Engeldrum had carried from the firehouse of Ladder 61 flapped over Baghdad. But at 10:15 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2004, there may have been an immaculate exception and the flag shed a tear.
That flag, that beautiful flag, was yesterday like the Holy Grail in a particularly emotional ceremony ? a "two handkerchief job," we hacks would call it ? at the Fire Academy.
Chris Engeldrum took an American flag from Ladder 61, took it to Ground Zero, took it to Djibouti, and then took it to Baghdad, and there that flag from Ladder 61 flew over the skies of Baghdad," Bresler said.
Swifty ? a longtime Army medic ? painfully recalled that day last year when Engeldrum was blown up by a 300-pound bomb in a convoy by the rats on a route called "Route Rams" outside of Baghdad.
"He was my best friend, and he thought, even though he was a firefighter putting his life on the line every day, you would be a coward if you didn't go to Iraq and fight evil," said Swifty.
"We were in an absolutely armored Humvee, the bomb was so big, the crater was 6 feet wide and 5 feet deep. I was blinded in the right eye, but my problem was no problem. I saw Chris and Wilfredo Urbino, I knew they were gone. I worked on two guys who were with us, and they made it, bless them. But Chris, what a hole in my heart that makes."
I have always felt fireman were special everyday heros but this fireman went way beyond the call of duty and in the end paid the ulimate sacrifice.