Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani recalled on Newsmax on Friday the 9/11 attacks, which took place 21 years ago this Sunday, and the time when Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday, presented him with an honorary knighthood for his actions after the terrorist attack on his city.
"The queen bestowed on me the knight commander of the British Empire, and [Police Commissioner] Bernard Kerik and [Fire Department Commissioner] Thomas Von Essen," Giuliani said on Newsmax's "National Report." "I'll never forget it. She was not only a strong supporter of America but one of the people who gave us so much help."
The ceremony took place Feb. 13, 2002, just over five months after the terrorists flew jets into the heart of New York, hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Giuliani, who widely became known as "America's mayor" after the attacks, said he thanked the queen for her support of America.
"They also lost hundreds of citizens," he said, adding that the queen thanked him for honoring her mentor, the late Prime Minister Winston Churchill, her one-time mentor.
"We shared this mutual love of Winston Churchill," said Giuliani, adding that Queen Elizabeth was a "very charming, very legitimate woman. You believed she really cared about you. ... This was a very deep, a very, very good woman."
Giuliani, looking toward another commemoration of the attacks that shook the world, said Friday that on that day, the worst foreign attack on this country since the war of 1812 was perpetrated, and it was an "attack on completely innocent people."
"I watched it first hand," he said. "It was a complete surprise. It was an attack on completely innocent people. The first shocking incident as I described to you that really put it beyond anything I've ever experienced before — and I experienced a lot as mayor — was to watch a man jump 101 floors. I was transfixed by it."
And, Giuliani added, "the things that go through your head. Why is he doing it? And how did he make that choice, and oh, my God, and can I stop it? Ridiculous thoughts. Could I grab him and then all of a sudden, he hit the ground. ... I said to myself at that moment, I better watch out. This could put you in shock."
Giuliani said he grabbed then-Police Commissioner Kerik's arm and said "this is beyond anything we've ever faced before. We're going to have to throw out our books. We had 24 emergency management books. We're going to have to make this one up based on our instincts. Then we're gonna have to pray to God."
The reaction, he said, created a "lifelong bond" between them that "nothing will break."
Giuliani also said he'll always remember the image of people coming into Manhattan that morning for work, "from people delivering bagels to people opening up their complicated computer programs, to people just opening little stores. Completely innocent people having nothing to do with the insanity of this attack, and all of a sudden their life is cut off. They have no further life and their families are left with endless mourning and grief that exists to this day."
It's important to keep talking about the attack and never look back, especially as there is a generation now that was not alive 21 years ago when it happened, as it could "happen [again] tomorrow" said Giuliani.
However, he said that he is "not sure" if the resiliency of the American people exists now as it did on 9/11.
"The young people are learning how these forbearers of theirs, just 21 years ago, how strong they were, the way we learned when we grew up how strong the generation of the Second World War was," Giuliani said. "This was an extraordinarily brave response, a country that has an enormous depth of strength in their liberty and freedom."
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