Roman Catholic priest, Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Father Brian Jordan was visiting a patient at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights on the morning of September 11, 2001.
After learning about the unfolding events at the World Trade Center, he walked to his office at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (West 31st Street), where he allowed people to seek refuge and use his telephone. Later in the day, he swapped the sandals that he traditionally wore as a Franciscan Friar for sneakers and traveled to Ground Zero. Maintaining that concession to his clerical garb, Father Jordan wore the same sneakers when photographed by Joe McNally a few weeks later. Also visible in the photograph is the vial of holy water he carried with him and the credentials that allowed him access to the site as a chaplain.
Through much of the nine-month recovery period that followed 9/11, Father Jordan blessed the remains of those who had been killed and offered solace to those in need. When still-upright steel columns in a T-shape were found in the wreckage of 6 World Trade Center on September 23, Father Jordan blessed it as a cross and began a tradition of presiding over Sunday prayer services at what became known as the Cross at Ground Zero
Father Jordan has contributed his story to the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s oral history collection.