Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who became widely recognized as "America's Mayor" after the 9/11 attacks brought down the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, told Newsmax Friday, on the eve of the 20th-anniversary commemoration, that when he gets "too down" he remembers how Americans became unified in their shock and grief.
"When I when I get too down about September 11, and think of the people I saw jumping and people I saw getting killed with debris and then having to identify a lot of the remains, that can really get you down and thinking about the families, I think about the response," Giuliani told Newsmax's "National Report." "And it was breathtaking."
The former mayor compared it to the "beginning of the Second World War," because "everybody was an American."
"Everybody was wearing flags," he said. "It was none of this, you know, kneeling for the national anthem, of burning flags. President [George W.] Bush and Gov. George Pataki drove up the Westside Drive three days later, and there must have been thousands of people lining it with American flags "
Giuliani will be featured in Newsmax's documentary, "9/11: The Day That Shook the World," which premieres at 9 p.m. Friday.
He recalled Friday morning that he was at The Peninsula Hotel, finishing breakfast with assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Simon and Denny Young, who was then serving as counsel to the mayor, and toward the end of the breakfast, a detective came in and told him about the first plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
After they walked outside, "I looked up at the sky and I said, 'Denny, this just can't be an accident. The sky is too clear,'" recalled Giuliani. "Always assume the worst [was] what I was taught about leadership and taught myself."
He pointed out that there had been another attack in 1993 when a terrorist bomb was detonated at the World Trade Center, while he was U.S. attorney, so he knew the protocols for the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
"We spent countless hours doing drills and exercises and we had done several of the World Trade Center," but plans had not been made for planes hitting the towers.
But with the planning, "my police officers and firefighters, I think helped save the country. Their brave response was in contrast to the evil attack, and it showed particularly those firefighters putting up the flag at Ground Zero. I mean, I saw that, I wanted to kiss those guys because they were saying, 'We're coming after you.' I mean, America is going to prevail. We can get up on a pile of rubble below the 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit fires you created. We can stick our flag up."
Giuliani also insisted Friday he was "very grateful" that Bush was president at the time of the attacks, and not his Democrat challenger, Al Gore.
"The Gore/Clinton administrations had really created the atmosphere for this," said Giuliani. "[Osama] bin Laden had been attacking us viciously [for] two years, declared war on us, and basically, [Bill] Clinton would bomb a field, kind of like what [President Joe] Biden just did with those stupid drone attacks. They won't give us the names of who he killed because he didn't kill anybody."
The losses in the attacks were also personal to Giuliani, who told Newsmax he lost many close friends, including FDNY Chaplain Mychal Judge, who he considered a friend and spiritual mentor.
"He had counseled me way back when I first became mayor on how to handle things like this," said Giuliani, explaining he was counseled concerning the deaths of firefighters shortly after he became mayor.
"Father Judge got me through how you explain death to a wife or a child ... I saw him, oh, gosh, I guess 10 minutes before he died," said Giuliani. "He was walking toward the site. Came over to me, and I said to him, 'Father pray for us.' He said, 'I will. But. Thank God you have strong shoulders. You're going to need them there. God bless you,' and he hugged me.
"We always shook hands. This is one of the few times he just gave me a big hug. He had already been in the building. And I was catching up on how horrible it really was."
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