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If you like Rudolph Giuliani's story, you might also like:
Willie Brown,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Larry King,
Norman Mailer,
Frank McCourt,
Alan Simpson,
John Sexton,
Antonio Villaraigosa
and Andrew Young

Rudolph Giuliani's recommended reading: Profiles in Courage

Related Links:
Encyclopedia.com
nyc.gov
TIME

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Rudolph Giuliani
 
Rudolph Giuliani
Profile of Rudolph Giuliani Biography of Rudolph Giuliani Interview with Rudolph Giuliani Rudolph Giuliani Photo Gallery

Rudolph Giuliani Interview (page: 7 / 8)

Former Mayor of New York City

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  Rudolph Giuliani

So you looked upon this beautiful blue sky, and then you heard about the second plane. Where were you, and where you were headed at that time?


Rudolph Giuliani: The second plane hit when I was about a mile away and in my van, rushing toward the site of the World Trade Center. I was about one mile north when the second plane hit. But we didn't know that a second plane hit at first, because all you could really see was more smoke, more fire. And then we got a call, probably within seconds, that there had been a second attack, and that a second plane had hit what would be the South Tower. And at that point, we knew for sure that it was a terrorist attack. Probably by that point it was pretty certain even before that that it was a terrorist attack, but that certainly clarified it and made it very, very clear that this had to be a concerted, organized terrorist attack. And I have to tell you we assumed that there would be multiple attacks that day. And not only did we assume that, the White House told us that there were seven planes that were unaccounted for. So we knew about two, then we found out about the Pentagon and the one over Pennsylvania. But that left three planes -- and at various times four and five -- that we thought were unaccounted for that might hit us.


Rudolph Giuliani Interview Photo

So rather than heading away from a dangerous situation, you went toward it.

Rudolph Giuliani: That was my job.


I was mayor. Part of my job description was to coordinate and supervise emergencies. The agencies that were the primary responders were all agencies that worked for the mayor. The police department is a mayoral agency. The fire department, EMS, and the commissioners were all my appointees. And we had been through hundreds of emergencies and dozens of significant ones. We had been through airplane crashes before. We had been through building collapses. We had been through blackouts. We had been through hostage situations. We went through West Nile Virus. So, it was a group that handled many, many emergencies, and we had a format for how we did it, and so part of that included my being there, so that I could help to coordinate and make sure everybody was working together, and also communicate with the public, so that you'd get out the information that people needed to be safer.

[ Key to Success ] Preparation


So that's why I went there.

Wasn't your emergency command center supposed to be at the World Trade Center?


Rudolph Giuliani: The command center was at 7 World Trade Center, which is the building that was north of the World Trade Center that went down in the afternoon. It went down maybe 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. But from the very moment that the first plane hit, 7 World Trade Center was evacuated. So we had to set up a new command center, and we actually set up two, which turns out to have been a very, very important difference, and made a very big difference in what happened. We set up a command post for the fire department and a command post for the police department. The fire department was placed at the site of the World Trade Center so that the fire chiefs could see the fire. The police department command post was about two-and-a-half blocks away, in an office building, on the ground floor of an office building, so they could have the hard lines available to communicate with the State police, with the Defense Department. And that's the difference between so many of the firefighters being lost and so many of the police high command actually getting through. They got trapped in the building, but they didn't get killed. That was all a question of how the building fell.


That's an image of heroism that this country will probably never forget: the firefighters rushing into the building, not out.


Rudolph Giuliani: I have often been asked, did it surprise me that the firefighters and the police officers went into the building, remained in the building, didn't leave, and the answer is it didn't surprise me. The heroism didn't surprise me, because I used to see it all the time. I saw it for seven and three-quarters years. Not on that scale, not in those numbers, but the same individual bravery in countless situations of rescuing children from fires, going into gun battle to protect people, taking out hostages. I mean, this is what they do day in and day out. So the one thing I was not surprised by was the heroism of the New York Police Department and the New York Fire Department. That is something I used to see every single day.


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This page last revised on Apr 17, 2008 16:20 EDT
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