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

Rudolph Giuliani's recommended reading: Profiles in Courage

Related Links:
Giuliani Partners
Bracewell Giuliani
Giuliani Security

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Rudolph Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani
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Rudolph Giuliani Interview (page: 8 / 8)

Former Mayor of New York City

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  Rudolph Giuliani

How did you have the stamina to attend those hundreds of funerals?

Rudolph Giuliani: It helped me to attend all those funerals and memorial services. I felt -- and still feel -- a tremendous amount of grief and pain about what happened. I lost very, very good friends. I lost people I had promoted, appointed, worked with, been through really horrible situations with, and I felt a great deal of grief. And to be able to share that with people and to help them in some way -- As the Mayor of New York City, I used to go to police and fire funerals, and I knew from early on that being there helped people a lot. Not because of me personally, but because of my office, because it said something about the importance of the person and what they did. And I knew that I could help in some way, and it would help me religiously -- it helped me spiritually, it helped me a lot of different ways -- and emotionally. And maybe it gave me a chance to get out some of the grief which I wasn't able to show if I were making decisions about the emergency, or making decisions about the recovery, or making decisions about anthrax, or making decisions about other things, where you had to present a very clear, focused picture to keep everybody together. This gave me a chance to get out some of my emotions, which were very, very strong.

Did you think of your father's words? The more scared and excited everyone else gets, you try to be the calmest one?

Rudolph Giuliani: Yes. That is a lesson that I used a lot in those days.

People would get very excited, and I would say to myself, "Okay, now, you've got to remain calmer, and you've got to think your way through this." I remember a couple weeks later, when I was headed for wakes in the suburbs north of New York, and I was going to go by helicopter, and I got a call from the head of the Office of Emergency Management that four planes were unaccounted for, and they were headed for New York and we had to ground everything. And it turned out that -- you might remember this -- that is when I think it ended up being two planes were off-course, and they had to be guided down. But there was a point at which we thought there would be another attack on the city. And I remember saying to myself then -- and things like that probably happened a dozen times in that four or five-week period -- and I remember saying to myself: "Okay, remain calm. Get calmer. Remember what your father said, and then we'll figure out how we deal with this."

[ Key to Success ] Courage

We've heard about the most beautiful exhibitions of the human spirit that day, people giving up their lives for total strangers. It's hard to explain such an act. Has this country changed since September 11?

Rudolph Giuliani: Well, I mean,

The number of people that gave up their lives or put their lives at risk at the World Trade Center, during and after the attack, just totally overwhelmed the evil of the act. I think about that day, September 11, as the worst day and the greatest day. I think of it as the worst day because I don't think I ever witnessed -- I hope I never do -- such positive hatred and evil as crashing airplanes into a building and killing absolutely innocent people, thousands and thousands of them. And probably the expectations were killing even many more than they did! I also never witnessed more love than the people who lay down their lives or put their lives at risk to save people, and in many, many cases, people they never knew. Obviously, the firefighters and the police officers, but I know many, many civilian stories of security officers. I know a story of an elderly man, about 70 years old, who kept getting people into an elevator. And the people getting in kept urging him to get in the elevator, and he said, "No, I'm older. I'll get down. Don't worry. I'm older." And he never did. I think he guided four elevators out, and kept staying behind because he was helping people get in the elevator. He felt he was older, and younger people should go first. That's love. That's a kind of love that overwhelms, ultimately, the hatred and the anger and the bitterness.

I think America discovered something about itself that's there. It isn't as if it was created on September 11 or after. I think America discovered something about itself, about how much we could help each other, how much we care about each other, how much we care about being Americans, how important our freedom and democracy is to us. And we're not going to let people take it away from us or jeopardize it for our children. I think that's been the primary thing that's happened in this country. I think there is much more of an appreciation for what we have, and therefore we're not going to let people jeopardize it. We're not going to let people take it away from us or even attempt to.

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

What do you think you learned about yourself over those days?

Rudolph Giuliani: I guess that I believe in God a lot more than I probably acknowledged before. That probably started with going through prostate cancer.

I have just an absolutely unshakeable belief about the value of living in freedom, that people who live in freedom have incalculable strength that they don't display until somebody challenges them and creates the possibility of taking it away from them, and that people who live in freedom prevail over people who live in oppression. And they just will, because they're not going to give this up. Once you give people freedom, they don't willingly give it up. And we've had freedom for a long time, and I think the mission of this country is to try to share it with others, because we realize the more people who live in freedom, the more peaceful the world is going to be.

[ Key to Success ] The American Dream

What's next for you?

Rudolph Giuliani Interview Photo
Rudolph Giuliani: I don't know. You know, after prostate cancer and September 11, I take life philosophically. I think that the future takes care of itself, and you can't overplan it. I am enjoying private life. It's very fulfilling. I'm in the consulting business, and I share a lot of the expertise that I have with people about security, security management, fiscal management. I have a former police commissioner, fire commissioner, head of emergency services, and a lot of people that survived with me after we were trapped in a building. We work together in the same business, so that's really emotionally fulfilling. I go all around the country. I give talks, I've written a book. So I feel like I'm contributing a lot and growing a lot. I'll probably want to go back to public service at some point, after a few years of reflection and development and growth in the private sector.

Thank you very much for taking this time to talk with us.

Thank you.

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