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Friday, 28 December, 2001, 01:30 GMT
Giuliani says goodbye to NY
Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani gave his speech metres away from Ground Zero
Rudolph Giuliani has made his farewell address as mayor of New York, calling for the construction of a "soaring" memorial at the site where the World Trade Center once stood.

Mr Giuliani, who has been widely praised for his leadership in the wake of the 11 September attacks, said he had gained his strength from the people of New York.

I felt that my job as the mayor was to turn around the city, because I believed... that we had one last chance to do that

Rudy Giuliani
He gave his address at the historical St Paul's chapel, only metres away from Ground Zero, which has been used as a support centre for those working at the site.

Before the 11 September attacks, Mr Giuliani's popularity was reaching an all-time low, with US newspapers full of details about his divorce and accounts of his angry public outbursts.

But his conduct earned him high praise from New Yorkers and politicians worldwide, and a few days ago the influential news magazine Time named Mayor Giuliani as its Person of the Year.

Soaring memorial

"There's no question that the only reason that I was selected as the person of the year is that the people of New York are the people of the year," he told the audience in St Paul's chapel.

"You know, our enemies insanely commit suicide to serve some irrational purpose, and they think that we're afraid.

Time magazine cover
Giuliani: Time's Person of the Year
"But the reality is that we're just a few blocks from a site in which hundreds and hundreds of men and women freely, by choice, gave up their lives, first, to protect the lives of other people and, second, to preserve the dignity and honour of the United States of America," he said.

Towards the end of his 55-minute speech, Mr Giuliani said the site of the twin towers should become a "soaring, beautiful memorial" to the victims of the attack.

"This place has to be sanctified," he said.

He added that the families of the victims needed to protected "financially and in every other way."

'Last chance'

Mr Giuliani, a Republican, was barred by law from seeking a third term in office.

Referring to his eight-year period as mayor, he defended his tough and often controversial stance on crime.

"The reality is that the model that was adopted for dealing with crime in New York City is the very, very best way to ensure you can make your city safe.

"I felt that my job as the mayor was to turn around the city, because I believed - rightly or wrongly - that we had one last chance to do that.

"That created a lot of hostility, a lot of anger. I knew it would," the mayor said.

Mr Giuliani's last day in City Hall will be 31 December - his successor, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, takes over on New Year's Day.

See also:

23 Dec 01 | Americas
Giuliani wins Time accolade
23 Dec 01 | Americas
Giuliani backs victims' claims fight
26 Sep 01 | Americas
NY faces up to future without Rudy
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