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Rudolph Giuliani’s Parting Words

December 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM EST

TRANSCRIPT

MARGARET WARNER: Before we go tonight, some farewell words from Rudy Giuliani, who steps down as New York’s mayor at year’s end. Giuliani won acclaim for his leadership after the September 11 attacks, and this week was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.” He spoke today at St. Paul’s Chapel, a pre-revolutionary war Episcopal Church just a block from the site of the World Trade Center.

MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI, New York: There’s one big change that’s taken place that’s the most important and the one that I wanted it bring about, and that one I’m really sure of. It’s a change in the spirit of the city. That city that used to be the rotting apple, that 60%, 70%, 80% of the people wanted to leave and nobody wanted to come to — that city now is a very strong and it’s a confident city; it’s a city that has withstood the worth attack of any city in America or in the history of America and people are standing up as tall, as strong and as straight as this church.

We’re in a very holy place, and we’re really on territory that is hallowed in very special ways by the presence of George Washington and all of our brave heroes that gave their lives. Never before, I don’t think in the history of America, have so many people died and then ended up saving so many people.

So I think we have an obligation to the people who did die to make sure of two things about which there can be absolutely no compromise: Their families need to be protected just as if they had been alive financially and in every other way that we can help and assist their families.

There should be no compromise about that ever. (Applause) And second, this place has to be sanctified. This place has to become a place in which, when anybody comes here, immediately they’re going to feel the great power and strength and emotion of what it means to be an American. We have to do that. And not worry about other things because this is too important a place. In their memory, we have to do that.