Outgoing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2001. The title was bestowed on Mayor Giuliani for lifting the spirits of his fellow New Yorkers following the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Each year, Time polls its readers and then devotes its year-end cover story to a man or woman who most affected events of the past year, for better or worse. The newsmagazine's editors decided that New York Mayor Guiliani deserves the recognition for calming the city in the hours after the attack that destroyed the World Trade Center.
A Time editor notes Mayor Giuliani "showed superhuman strengths at a time when the entire country was being tested." The editor adds that the Mayor "showed the way out of our despair, and gave us the emotional armor to get up every day and get on with our lives."
In an interview Sunday on the NBC television program Meet the Press, Mayor Giuliani credited his father with his ability to remain calm during the crisis.
"My father always used to say - I don't know why - he used to say in a crisis, or when everybody else gets all upset, you should get calmer. And the best way to figure your way out through a crisis is to force yourself to be calmer than everyone around you," said the mayor. Until the terrorist attack and its aftermath, Mr. Giuliani seemed destined to go down in history as a great mayor who dramatically cut crime in the city know fondly as the Big Apple. But he had a lot of personal and public relations problems that threatened to overshadow his accomplishments. As is the case with all outgoing politicians, Mayor Giuliani was watching the clock wind down on his final term in office.
But his strong leadership and personal courage in wake of the terrorist attacks have now made Rudolph Giuliani one of the most popular figures in the United States.
At the other end of the spectrum, thousands of readers cast their votes for Osama Bin Laden, whom the United States blames for the terrorist attacks. They voted for Osama Bin Laden because of his significant impact on world events. In the end, a Time editor says the magazine wrote off Bin Laden as a "smaller than life, garden-variety terrorist."
Mayor Giuliani was asked what he would do if he ever crossed paths with Osama Bin Laden.
"I don't think I would talk to him. ... I think there's no question that no one person is ever responsible for evil like this," said Mr. Giuliani. "But in his particular case, his charismatic ability, his leadership ability, he adds something extra to the ability of these people to do tremendous damage and to destroy innocent human life. And I think the sooner and the faster we find him, the safer the world's going to be."
President George Bush was the second biggest vote getter in the Time magazine's Person of the Year poll. Many credited President Bush for his response to the events since that terrible day.