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Thread: 2004-11-29 Christian Engeldrum

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    2004-11-29 Christian Engeldrum

    NYC Firefighter, Iraq Soldier Remembered

    Associated Press Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City firefighter who responded to the 2001 World Trade Center attack and died last month serving with the Army National Guard in Iraq was remembered Thursday as "the true definition of a hero.''

    Sgt. Christian Engeldrum, who also was a former police officer, was killed Nov. 29 when his vehicle was attacked outside Baghdad. He was the first New York City employee to die in the U.S.-led war.

    At a funeral Mass overflowing with thousands of police, firefighters and uniformed military, Engeldrum was recalled as an extraordinarily brave public servant.

    "Chris, your courage and bravery inspire us all,'' said firefighter Michael Schiraldi, a friend. "The memory of your smile fills us with joy and laughter. ... You are the true definition of a hero and a great friend.''

    Engeldrum, 39, left behind two teenage sons and his pregnant wife, Sharon. One son, 18-year-old Sean, gave an emotional eulogy that received thunderous applause.

    "My dad is the greatest man I will ever know,'' he said. "I only hope to be half the man he was.''

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the Mass at a church in the Bronx.

    So did Daniel Swift, a New York firefighter who was injured in the same attack in Iraq. In his fire department uniform, wearing an eye patch and with one steel crutch under his right arm, he was escorted up the church steps by fellow firefighters.

    Engeldrum was a five-year fire department veteran. He also served in the Army from 1986 to 1991, including the Gulf War.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=45&id=37323

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    Widow begged him: Don't go

    BY ALISON GENDAR
    and JONATHAN LEMIRE
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

    Sharon Engeldrum at husband Christian

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    Firefighter who helped raise flag at Ground Zero killed in Iraq

    By MICHELE MCPHEE

    New York Daily News

    NEW YORK - A Bronx firefighter remembered by his wife as the "ultimate patriot" died outside Baghdad when his Army vehicle rolled over an explosive, killing him and wounding another of the city's Bravest.

    Christian Engeldrum, whose Sept. 11 heroism was captured in a historic New York Daily News photograph, is the first city employee to die in Iraq since the war began.

    As Ground Zero burned, Engeldrum was photographed steadying a ladder that another firefighter climbed to hang a torn American flag from a bent light pole.

    On Monday, the courageous father was part of a convoy of Army National Guardsmen protecting a bridge from insurgents fleeing Fallujah when his unit came under attack and his Humvee rolled over a bomb.

    The explosion ripped the armored vehicle in two and hurtled the wounded soldiers onto the street. Three soldiers were killed and 16 more were seriously injured, including city Firefighter Daniel Swift, 24, authorities said.

    Swift's face was bloodied by shrapnel. A sharp fragment lodged in his right eye, leaving him temporarily blinded, while his legs were peppered with scalding metal.

    Despite his injuries, Swift, the unit's medic, crawled over twisted debris and knelt next to his FDNY brother, nicknamed "Drum," as Iraqi insurgents showered them with gunfire.

    Swift desperately tried to save Engeldrum, but the 39-year-old sergeant did not survive the attack.

    Swift was flown to a Germany hospital for treatment, where he was expected to recover. He called his parents and fellow East Harlem firefighters at Ladder 43 Tuesday morning just to hear "a friendly voice," his father said.

    "He wanted his buddy to be all right," said retired NYPD detective John Swift. "But he wasn't."

    The bravery and dedication of soldiers like Swift was what drew Engeldrum, a five-year FDNY veteran who served at Ladder 61 in the Bronx, to Iraq, his widow said Tuesday.

    "He was the ultimate patriot, my husband," Sharon Engeldrum said through tears from the family's Bronx home. "He loved his country, he loved the Fire Department. He was very brave."

    "He went to the Gulf War and made it through that. He went through 9/11 and made it," she said. "He died doing something he believed in."

    As an active member of the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1991, Engeldrum was decorated with medals for his actions in Operation Desert Storm in 1990.

    He remained an Army reservist. Believing the war in Iraq was important, he wanted to be with his fellow soldiers when they arrived in Baghdad last month.

    On the night before Thanksgiving, Engeldrum called his wife, Sharon, and sent his love to her and sons Sean, 18, and Royce, 16. The holiday has long been a poignant one for the couple.

    Sharon was just 16 when she went to a Throgs Neck gas station on Thanksgiving night and became smitten with the boy at the station selling Christmas trees. That was 21 years ago and they were together since.

    "He was my first and only. I've loved him for as long as I can remember," she said. "He was my everything."

    "My boys will have something to be proud of, something to tell their kids," she said

    Engeldrum and Swift had more in common than love for the FDNY and dedication to their country. Both spent months at Ground Zero digging through the rubble for their fallen brethren.

    That terrible morning, Engeldrum had been training at the FDNY academy and raced to the World Trade Center.

    Daily News photographer Andrew Savulich captured him and three other firefighters raising a battle-torn flag as the skeleton of the fallen twin towers burned behind them.

    The historic image became emblematic of the courage and endurance of FDNY firefighters in the long days after the attacks.

    Through it all, Engeldrum's family and fellow firefighters were his lifeblood, and he had a hard time parting with them to fight in Iraq.

    During a two-week leave in September, Engeldrum spent a night with the Bravest of Ladder 61.

    When it was time to leave, he spun on his heels and walked out of the firehouse without looking back.

    "I can't," he said, stammering for a second, "say goodbye to you guys."

    (New York Daily News correspondent Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report.)

    http://www.tallahassee.com/mld/talla...n/10309732.htm

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    Guardian's Angel

    GUARDIAN'S ANGEL

    By JENNIFER FERMINO and STEVE DUNLEAVY

    June 9, 2005 -- The wife of a city firefighter-turned-soldier who was killed last year in Iraq gave birth to the fallen hero's daughter this week

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    Fire Hero, Cop And Soldier: Now Christian Belongs To The Ages

    FIRE HERO, COP AND SOLDIER: NOW CHRISTIAN BELONGS TO THE AGES

    By PATRICK GALLAHUE

    December 3, 2005 -- The city raised a memorial yesterday to fallen war hero Christian Engeldrum

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    A Pat on hero's back

    Daily News Exclusive

    BY NANCY DILLON
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Fighting 69th hero Daniel Swift will lead the city

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