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Breakfast with Frost
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: RUDY GUILIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 8th, 2002 (recorded December 2001)

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: Now twelve months ago Rudy Giuliani was a somewhat controversial New York mayor. A Republican in a traditionally Democrat city. Within days he was to achieve almost saint-like status. The way he worked with the police and fire-fighters, the way he galvanised the city's response, found almost universal favour and admiration. I spoke to him just before he stepped down as mayor and asked him to recall the morning of the 11th and the moment he arrived at the scene.

RUDY GIULIANI: As I got to Greenwich Village coming down, which is a little more than half way from where I was to the World Trade Center, it was the first time I could see the World Trade Center, I could actually see flames. And I passed St Vincent's Hospital and I saw that -

DAVID FROST: Neither of them had collapsed at this point?

RUDY GUILIANI: Neither of them collapsed, and the second plane hadn't, had not hit yet. I looked over and I saw St Vincent's Hospital, which is in Greenwich Village, and I saw a lot of doctors and nurses on the street with stretchers and it looked like a war zone scene to me. It was a scene I had never seen before in New York City. It looked to me like a scene from a war zone. They were standing there in their green scrubs with stretchers out as if waiting, as if - actually they were waiting - for the casualties to be brought to them. And that was the first time I registered in my mind this must be something really horrendous. And Joe, who's my deputy mayor for operations, said it was terrible. It's a tremendous fire, people are trapped, people are jumping out of the buildings. Actually I looked up at that point, looked up at the top of the tower, and I saw things coming out of the top of the building. And I saw this man come all the way down and hit the roof of another building, one of the World Trade Center small buildings. And I, I - I remember saying this, saying something like that now we're going through an experience we've never been through before and this is, this is like a different, we're in a different thing here that we really never have experienced before and we're going to have to invent our response to it. That we hadn't, this is not the part that we'd planned for. Then I went up to the fire department command post and met with Pete Dempsey who was the chief of the fire department, Bill Feehan who was his first deputy. They were running a command post and they said we can, we are confident that we can save everybody below the fire. And I knew that was a euphemistic way to say that we have to sacrifice everybody above.

DAVID FROST: And what do you think would be the right memorial for the people, for those people who died? I mean do you think at some stage we should rebuild two proud towers or, or what?

MAYOR GUILIANI: I believe in the age that we live in, some of this memorial has to be interactive. It has to be a, an opportunity for people to relive this experience, so that we reduce the situation were it may happen again in the future. People have to relive that experience, just how they did that. It's one thing to say it, it's another thing to talk about the fire-fighters who, you know, remained on the 18th floor so that people could evacuate, knowing that they may never get out. Or people that I've read about, the civilians that I know about, who let other people get onto elevators so that every, all their workers could get out, but stayed there until the last worker was out and therefore died. People need to hear those stories, like we've heard about the Titanic and, or Pearl Harbour. But the main focus of this has to be a soaring, beautiful, highly-informative, educational, historical memorial.

DAVID FROST: Rudy Guiliani.

INTERVIEW ENDS

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