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NY Mayor Praised for Leadership During Difficult Times - 2001-09-16

Leaders and commentators across the nation and the world have praised New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's leadership during the darkest days of New York history. But the feisty mayor has also suffered personal loss.

People in New York are always commenting that "Rudy," as the mayor is known, never sleeps. Mr. Giuliani has a reputation for being at the scene of any incident in New York, night or day, within minutes.

This has never been truer than in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan, just blocks away from City Hall.

The mayor headed to the scene of the destruction within minutes, arriving in the area just as a second plane slammed into the south tower of the Trade Center. He was in a nearby building when the first of the Twin Towers crumbled, followed shortly by the collapse of the second building. He lost a close friend, the chief of the New York City Fire Department, Peter Ganci. But Mayor Giuliani took charge at once, holding news conferences, organizing the rescue effort, visiting hospitals, consoling grieving families and finding places for businesses in the World trade Center to relocate.

Despite the ravages of the attack, Mr. Giuliani says he has never felt alone. And he says all Americans are being tested. "I cannot think of how often I have heard it said that democracy does not come at a low price," he said. "You pay a very big price for democracy. Now we are learning what that means, that we have to sustain those losses. We have to have the strength to get through it. We have to determine, the president does, and then we have to support him, and we have to be willing to withstand other sacrifices if that is necessary to defend freedom and democracy and the rule of law which is what we stand for."

Mr. Guiliani says New York will become stronger as a result of the terrible experience it is enduring.