GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 1 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Farewell Address

Very often in the past three months plus people will ask me where do I get my energy? Where does it come from? Well it's really simple: it comes from you and it comes from here. What I mean by that, my strength and energy comes entirely from the people of the City of New York and it comes from a place like this, St. Paul's Chapel. This is a house of God and it's one of the homes of our republic.

Although I have to leave you as the mayor soon I resume the much more honorable title of citizen, citizen of New York and citizen of the United States. You get to be mayors and council members and congressmen and senators and governors and even presidents for short periods of time, but you always remain a citizen. And the people of the city should understand that all of the sources of my strength absolutely endure because you have it and you have that strength and you've displayed it.

As I stand in this church, which is hallowed ground, my mind wanders back well over a hundred years ago when my grandfather, Rudolpho, left Italy. I keep wondering at the very tremendous chance that four different people, my grandfather and grandmother and my other grandfather and grandmother, all of them decided to leave. If one of them hadn't I wouldn't be here. But of course that's true probably for all of you.

I think about my grandfather who left his family and he left the country of his birth, he left everything that was familiar, everything that was safe. He had to have seen the obstacles. He couldn't possibly have not seen the obstacles that faced him: a treacherous journey across a very dangerous ocean, coming to a place in which he didn't understand the language, couldn't speak it, wouldn't understand him. But somehow he and his wife and my other grandfather and grandmother made the choice to come here. Their hopes and their dreams and their optimism overcame their fears.

When I was given the manifest of the ship on which he went back to Italy to pick up his sister, there's one part of it that has always absolutely fascinated me: he had only $20 in his pocket. He didn't have any American Express Travelers Cheques hidden away. he didn't have a Mastercard. He had only $20.

So how did he do it? How did he overcome all the fears that must have existed? It's very, very simple how he did it and how millions of other people did it and it's the reason we all have such strength. There were able to do it because they kept thinking about this idea in their head, this ideal of America, America, America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, this very, very special place that was probably romanticized. And by coming here they made even a more special place because they worked very hard to make this a better place for themselves and their children.

When my grandfather's native country went to war against the country of his choice it was very, very simple for him: He was an American now and if you had to die for America that's what you were supposed to do.

His youngest son, my uncle Rudy, is sitting over there. And he has no idea that I'm going to talk about him but I am. When he was 17 years old he volunteered to fight in the second world war, and almost died in the Pacific. He came back, worked as a New York City police officer in the emergency services unit. And on the last day that he was a police officer, if I may say as a middle-aged man, he went up on top of the Brooklyn Bridge and took someone down and saved them from suicidal depression. Almost lost his life then. And he's been my hero and one of the reasons why I have this love of our Police Department and our Fire Department and the people who do that, because I saw it very, very directly.

My grandfather, Rudolpho, and my uncle, Rudy, are just like your fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, aunts. You all have that in your background and in your families. It doesn't matter if you came here rich or poor, if you came here voluntarily or involuntarily, if you came here in freedom or in bondage. All that matters is that you embrace America and understand its ideals and what it's all about.

Abraham Lincoln used to say that the test of your Americanism was not your family tree; the test of your Americanism was how much you believed in America. Because we're like a religion really. A secular religion. We believe in ideas and ideals. We're not one race, we're many; we're not one ethnic group, we're everyone; we're not one language, we're all of these people.

So what ties us together? We're tied together by our belief in political democracy. We're tied together by our belief in religious freedom. We're tied together by our belief in capitalism, a free economy where people make their own choices about the spending of their money. We're tied together because we respect human life. We're tied together because we respect the rule of law. Those are the group of ideas that make us Americans.

And being in this chapel is very, very appropriate. The reason I chose this chapel is because it has wonderful Christmas decorations or whatever that thing is. The reason I chose this chapel is because this chapel is thrice-hallowed ground. This is a place of really special importance to people who have a feeling and a sense and an emotion and an understanding of patriotism. This is hallowed by the fact that it was consecrated as a house of God in 1766. That's a long time ago. And in in 1789, in April of 1789 George Washington came and after he was inaugurated as the first president of our republic he prayed right here in this church, which makes it very sacred ground to people who feel what America is all about.

But then it was consecrated one more time, in 2001 on Sept. 11. When I walked in here from the back I looked up because every time I've walked in this church when I looked up I saw the twin towers just way, way above. This church existed for many years in the shadow of the twin towers. And on Sept. 11 when the twin towers were viciously attacked and came crashing to the ground in the worst attack on America, destroyed buildings all around, did damages far away as City Hall all the way south in the southern part of Battery Park City and covered this whole area with debris, body parts and in many, many ways damaged buildings, this chapel remained not only not destroyed, not a single window was broken, not a single thing hurt. And I think there's some very, very special significance in that. The place where George Washington prayed when he first became president of the United States stood strong, powerful, untouched, undaunted, by the attacks of these people who hate what we stand for. Because what we stand for is so much stronger than they are.

So this chapel stands for our values. And it's a very important place. And I hope you return here often to reflect on what it means to be an American and a New Yorker.

When I became mayor of New York City in 1993, with the help of many of you that are here, it seemed to me that I had to do something different than other mayors. It seemed to me that what I had to do was to totally change the direction and course of New York City. Maybe I was right about that, maybe I was wrong about it, but that's the way I felt I had to operate. I saw this city deteriorating. I saw the city on the front page of Time magazine -- is this working? I saw this city on -- now it is. See what God can do. I saw the city on the front page of Time magazine in 1990 in which the front cover said: New York City, The Rotting Apple.

And then several years worth of terrible, terrible publicity about the city: 2,000 murders a year; people fleeing; 320,000 fewer jobs; Fortune 500 companies leaving in record numbers. A poll in 1993 said that over 65 percent of New Yorkers wanted to leave the city if they could afford to do it. When I saw that poll I became really concerned about the future of the city. And then another one that said that the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers believed that although we would survive as a city our best days were behind us, our best days were history, that our future would not be nearly as bright as our past. And then I remember Senator Moynihan saying in 1993 that we were engaged in defining deviancy down rather than creating higher standards for our people.

So I felt that my job as the mayor, I didn't know if I would succeed or not, but I felt that my job as the mayor was to turn around the city. Because I believed rightly or wrongly that we had one last chance to do that, to really turn it around in a totally opposite direction from the direction it was going in.

And that created a lot of hostility and a lot of anger. I knew it would. Because the city was headed in the direction it was in because of ideas. There were people who had political philosophies and political creeds and ideologies and those were the reasons behind all of the things that had the city headed in the wrong direction in my view. And I had a different group of ideas about what should lie behind where the city was going.

For example, it seemed to me that we had to change the way in which we did policing in New York City. We had to make it accountable. We had to make it responsible. We couldn't let politics guide decision making. We had to have reason, thought and analysis guide decision making.

Let me give you an example that I pulled out of the paper this morning because very, very fortuitously this morning's newspaper illustrates this point better than I think I could have done. It's an article in The Daily News. It says: Murders, shootings fall in city; dip seen for second week; the city's crime wave may be washed up. The crime wave about which the writer speaks was for one week by the way. You're laughing but that's good, that's really good. And that's very, very different than -- this would not have been possible eight years ago. This article couldn't have been written.

"For the second week in a row the Police Department logged a drop in murders and shootings according to the latest crime statistics. From Dec. 17 to 23 there were nine murders, three fewer than in the same period a year ago, and 25 shootings, six fewer than in the same week in 2000. Overall major crime was down 17 percent last week compared with the year before. Crime fell 13 percent the previous week as well. Police commanders had been feeling the heat this month" -- commissioner? -- "when violent crime was on the upswing, a disturbing trend officials attributed to the diversion of thousands of cops and detectives to World Trade Center related duties after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The weekly Compstat crime strategy meetings showed where the problems were, largely in Brooklyn North. So Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik ordered detectives return to assignments in narcotics, warrants and gang enforcement." Notice it doesn't say he returned them to assignments in community policing. Nor does it say that he increased patrol strength in all of the precincts in which the City Council members get angry that you don't have enough patrol strength. What it says is he returned them to assignments in the special units, much maligned but enormously important if you really want to reduce crime, to the special units: narcotics, warrants and gang enforcement.

"Substantial reductions in the last two weeks result in our ability," said Bernard Kerik, "through Compstat to monitor trends and deploy resources to areas where spikes occur."

None of that would have been possible eight years ago. That's a rational, reasonable, sensible, strategic response to crime rather than a political response: put cops out on the street so people can see them and politicians are happy.

I remember once somebody suggesting that we should put a police officer in every subway train. And I thought that was a great idea. It emotes. Right? Put them in every subway car. However, 65 percent of the crime that occurs on the subway occurs on the platform. So I had this image of the cops in the cars going by and the muggers waving to them. You have to think about how you reduce crime rather than emote.

Another example. This is from an article that I kept. They want to know if there's a new Rudy or and old Rudy. It's really the same one. This one I kept because this goes back to May -- March 4, 2000. It was in The New York Times. And it reads as follows:

"In the eyes of many police chiefs and criminologists, San Diego and Boston have become the national models of policing. And while New York's accomplishments are also studied and admired, there's a sense of sadness that a great opportunity has been squandered."

That kind of annoyed me when it was written but I waited. I say this only because one of the things that we've had to deal with in the last seven and three-quarters years, first with Commissioner Bratton, then with Commissioner Safir, now with Commissioner Kerik, is this notion that, yeah, crime goes down in New York but it goes down all over the country and it really isn't about policing, it isn't about our theories, our ideas, our policies or our approach or our management.

Well let's do a little check on how San Diego and Boston have done since then. In the last statistics put out by the F.B.I. there has been a 67 percent increase in murder in Boston. During that same period of time there was a 12 percent decrease in the City of New York. I don't know, which policing theory would you want to follow? Boston has 82 percent more crime than New York. San Diego has 16 percent more crime than New York. And in the last six months statistics San Diego had crime go up by 3.9 percent; New York City had it go down by 7.6 percent.

The article then goes on the say the following:

"The Boston model, which evolved over time, has succeeded in several other cities."

The Boston model. This doesn't have to do with baseball, it has to do with policing. This is where the article says the Boston model was used: New Haven. New Haven has 124.3 percent more crime than New York City. Indianapolis, 50 percent more crime. The Boston model is used in Memphis, 204 percent; and in Portland, Ore., 131 percent.

The reality is that the model that was adopted for dealing with crime in New York City is the very, very best way to assure that you can keep a city safe. It includes relying on Compstat to make your decisions about how to deploy police officers. It also includes putting a lot of emphasis on quality of life, on the broken windows theory. Those are the two major pillars of it.

These are ideas. These are the ideas that replaced bad ideas. The broken windows theory replaced the idea that we were too busy to pay attention to street-level prostitution, too busy to pay attention to panhandling, too busy to pay attention to graffiti, too busy to pay attention to street-level drug dealing. Well you can't be too busy to pay attention to those things because those are the things that underlie the problems of crime that you have in your society.

And I would like to say that another idea that we changed was the approach to homelessness, which is something that comes up over and over again. Here's my feeling about homelessness, and it's very much the same about welfare. I think there was something wrong, seriously wrong, in the idea that people in this city had that there was something good about watching someone laying on the street and sort of creating a right for people to live on the streets. And somehow they thought that inhered an individual liberty or individual rights.

But think about this for a moment: If your brother, cousin, friend, was sleeping on the streets day after day, what would you do about it if it was somebody you loved and cared about? Not somebody that you were kind of like dealing with out of your own guilt maybe. How would you feel about it? What you'd want to do is help them. Right? You'd want to help them. And if they insisted living on the streets at 20 degrees and 25 degrees and 30 degrees and rain and where they could attacked, you would do everything you could to get them off the street. Because a person, if you see someone that wants to live on the street and is laying there, you should see a sign on them that says: I have a very big problem and I need help. You shouldn't ignore me. You should try to help me. And trying to help me means first of all dealing with the basic idea you have to be indoors, not out on the street.

And then the second thing, then you have to figure out what kind of problem does the person have? What is it? What makes them live on the street? It isn't normal behavior. It isn't healthy behavior for them or for society. If you ignore it it's a problem that only gets worse. It gets worse for them and it gets worse for society. Because the problem is one of these things: the person doesn't have a place to live, well if you let that person live on the street the problem of not having a place to live is going to become one of the next problems that people have that live on the street -- alcoholism. That only gets worse if you ignore it or enable it, which is what people who encourage people to live on the streets are doing, they're enabling people to be alcoholics. Or you have a problem of drug addiction. Or you have a problem with mental illness. Or maybe you're a violent criminal.

All of those things have to be dealt with, all of them have to be dealt with differently. None of them are helped by ignoring homelessness, by doing the kind of thing that the judge allowed last week. That's cruel. He doesn't think it's cruel. But he's having a hard time thinking through the ideology that he brings with it to analyzing his decisions. It's a cruel thing to do to have people laying on the street. It's a much kinder, more generous, much more mature and much more responsible thing to go take them, try to help them and put them in facilities where they can get help, which is what we've done and what really has to continue if we really, really care about people.

Similarly, welfare. Again, a big change in ideas. The idea in this city used to be that people should be encouraged to be on welfare. That you were helping them by putting them on welfare. And somehow you felt better about yourself the more people there were on welfare. The reality is you are not helping anybody by putting them in a state of dependency. We substituted for that the idea that people should work and take care of themselves. And that we should do everything we could to help people to work. Encourage them, suggest it to them and even require it if you have to in order to keep them in the work force. Because the kindest most generous and most loving way to take care of someone is to respect their independence and give them the ability to take care of themselves.

I promise not to use numbers very much in this speech. I have to use one, Jason. No way I would have believed this eight years ago. And I'm a big optimist, and generally look at things, almost everything, from the positive point of view. And I don't think you can get through life if you don't look at everything, no matter how difficult it is, from a positive point of view.

There are right now as we close this administration 695,000 fewer people on welfare, 695,000. We'll end the administration with less than 500,000 people on welfare. Last year we created about 130,000 jobs for them. This year I hope we are going to do even better than that. And we're already at about 120,000. And we still have a few days to go. So we are going to pick up the rest of those jobs before then.

But just think about that. The city used to pick up about 8,000, 9,000 jobs a year for people on welfare. And then put 100,000 more people on welfare. We're helping people to help themselves. And believe me, that's had a lot to do at the core, at the grassroots level with the change of morale in the city.

Fiscal discipline. We've worked very very hard to try to straighten out the budget of the city of New York. And I think the budget is in much better shape than it was in eight years ago.

When I came in to office we had a $2.3 billion current year deficit. Right now the new mayor will take over with what looks to be a surplus of over $1 billion.

I checked this morning. As of a week ago when we finished the budget with the City Council we had a budget stabilization account and reserves -- the budget stabilization account is something we created that we urge very strong should be continued that gave us about a $600 million surplus. Since then two things have happened.

Unfortunately, the income tax reduction we wanted was not passed. That's the unfortunate part. The good part of that is the new mayor picks up $500 million in gap reduction that he didn't have before, which will bring the gap down below $3 billion.

And the second thing is that the receipts, the tax receipts, because Wall Street did better than we anticipated, will probably bring in another $500 million. Which is another principle that we changed. And this is why we have surpluses every year. We always have underestimated tax receipts. We always conservatively estimate how well the economy is going to do.

What that means is that in spite of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the tremendous impact that's had on us emotionally, and the tremendous impact that it's had on us economically, we're probably going to end up pretty much where we estimated the economy was going to be by the time we end the year. It's a great credit to -- I have, let's see, three budget directors here, Joe Lhota, Bob Harding and Adam Barsky.

And there is just one last thing I have to say about that. The whole idea of retiring long-term debt. You know, if I had taken the advice of some of the monitors in The New York Times editorial board and -- that's a good thing to actually do, not take their advice. You can write that down as a rule. Actually, political officials should not be so affected by editorial boards, whether it is The New York Times or even The New York Post, that I much more often agree with, or The Daily News or Izvestia. Do they still have Izvestia? Do they still have that anymore? No. O.K. You should not be so affected by editorial boards because you should make up your own mind.

Editorial boards have a place and they have a purpose. But they don't really understand the inner workings of government. They don't understand budgets. They really don't understand how you balance a budget because they don't have to do it. And they certainly don't understand how you balance a $40 billion budget, because they've never had to do anything like that.

And the reality is that that advice about retiring long-term debt would have resulted in the city being in bankruptcy right now. Because it would not have had the ability to -- what we did instead of paying off long-term debt is retire short-term debt.

That's why this new mayor inherits a surplus rather than an immediate year tremendous gap. A gap a year from now or two years from now you can deal with because you can plan. You can plan through attrition to reduce the size of government. You can look for new sources of revenue. You can look for areas of privatization where you can pick up revenues. You can look for more help from the federal government.

But if you have an immediate gap, if it happens right now in this year, then the only thing the city used to do in the past is lay people off. And then it affects your bond rating. So I would also urge to go a little deeper in thinking about how the budget operates.

And one last piece of advice on budget and the economy. And one thing that we changed dramatically. I would not let the anti-development philosophy rule my decision. This city has a strand in it, a very dangerous one, that opposes development of any kind, anywhere, any place. And then it wonders why unemployment is high. Well, if you are not building and rebuilding and building again and recreating, then the city just atrophies. It just dies.

The physical structure of the city has to be rebuilt like the human structure of the city is rebuilt. And the city should never again go back into the anti-development philosophy. We did more developing in the last eight years than in probably the last 30 or 35 years combined. I won't list all the projects. You know them: Times Square, 125th Street, the first hotel in Brooklyn in 50 years.

Nobody had built a hotel in Brooklyn in 50 years. I don't know what they were doing in Brooklyn in 50 years, Mary. But no hotel in Brooklyn in 50 years. We brought baseball back to Brooklyn and Staten Island.

And the one that I'm the most proud of now and keep going to look at is the A.O.L. Time Warner headquarters on Columbus Circle. That's a grand new project that was mired in the anti-development philosophy and letting it rule for 15 or 20 years. And I can give you all kinds of examples like that. Hotels that were built, office buildings that have gone up, courthouses, Judge Kay, courthouses in every borough with the very very strong support and help of Chief Judge Kay. Thank you.

But you have to fight the anti-development philosophy. Because it's there and it can be very very harmful, particularly now when the city has to work it's way out of two things. And I think it's the second more than the first actually. The attack on the World Trade Center and the impact that that has had on our economy. I'm not sure that some of that wasn't exaggerated now that I look at our tax receipts, the impact of the World Trade Center.

But the second part, and that is the national economy. No matter how we try to outperform it, and we do nowadays. It's still going to affect us. So given that, this would be the worst time to go back into an anti-development, high tax philosophy. Because it would flip us back to where we were. Right now we outperform the rest of America and we have been for the last three or four years. We used to underperform them. You go back to no development and high taxes and we're going to begin to underperform again. So I think those are two ideas that we changed that have to remain part of the political philosophy of the city.

One other thing that we did that, I think I said earlier, is the source of the city's greatest strength. I think the key to our success as a city, the reason we are the most famous city in the world, and the reason why we really legitimately are the capital of the world, is really just one thing: immigration. We are an open city. We have never been afraid of people. We've never been afraid of people no matter what their color, religion, ethnic background. We're a city in which our diversity is our greatest strength.

I remember after the attack on the World Trade Center, it just came very naturally for me to say to people, do not engage in group blame. Do not go single out people who are Arab-Americans and blame the attack on the World Trade Center on them. Because the people who attacked the World Trade Center, we weren't even sure exactly who it was then. But the people who attacked the World Trade Center, obviously are vicious criminals of the worst kind. And there isn't a single group that sits out there that doesn't have among them vicious criminals of some kind. Every ethnic group, religious group, racial group has some bad, really bad people in that group.

And then the question becomes are you the kind of prejudiced, irrational human being that defines the group based on the bad people in that group, which means you are going to end up hating everybody. Or do you kind of get beyond that and see that, in fact, in every group, most people are decent people who are just trying to do the same thing that you are doing.

I think the experience of New York allows more and more people to see that than any place else. Because we keep bumping into each other all the time. And you keep bumping into people who look different than you do. I mean, you see them all over. They have different outfits and they talk different languages. And they wear different clothes. And they say different things. And that experience, if you're a person of some degree of common sense and intelligence, that experience opens you up to the feeling that, well, people are basically all the same.

And it's the greatest strength that we have, the greatest strength that we have as a city is immigration. And keeping ourselves open to people. And we shouldn't allow what has happened to us in the last three, three and a half months, we shouldn't allow what has happened to us to stop that in any way at all. We should continue to be open to people.

It doesn't mean we shouldn't have more security. It doesn't mean we should be open to people with criminal backgrounds. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't, in a very very proper and appropriate and even tough way, screen the people who come here to make sure that we are not letting terrorists in. But it does mean that we should continue to be a city and a country that's open to new people coming here from all over the world.

When I got the word from Sunny that I was selected as the person of the year -- after being a little shocked on my Blackberry to say Joe Lhota say that I was the POTY, person of the year, POTY? My next reaction was there's no question that the only reason that I was selected the person of the year is that the people of New York are the people of the year. There is no question about it.

You really don't know how strong you are. People of New York really don't know how strong they are. They really don't realize the tremendous strength they have from the diversity that they have. And from the fact that we live in freedom. And what that does for you, the emotion that that creates in you. And the strength that that gives you. And the resources that you have. Because not only do we live in freedom but we have a long long and strong tradition of them. So please remember that my strength completely comes from you. It isn't me, it is yours. And you are going to keep it. And the city is going to go on. And it's going to be a great great city.

Our enemies insanely commit suicide to serve some irrational purpose. And they think that we are afraid -- they used to think that we are afraid to die for what we believe in. And the reality is that we don't want to die. And we don't believe that it's our right to make that choice for ourselves. We think God only has that right. But the reality is that we're just a few blocks from a site in which hundreds and hundreds of men and women freely by choice gave up their life. First, to protect the lives of other people. And secondly, to preserve the dignity and honor of the United State of America while under attack.

This war will go on for some time: to find the terrorists, to eliminate terrorism, to eliminate terrorists. I don't know how long it will go on. It will go on probably for a longer time than we would like.

But I hope you realize that we have already won it. We have already won the war. It's just a matter now of finishing it. And that isn't easy. And it's going to mean more sacrifices and more lives lost. It could even mean more attacks. I don't know. But I know we won.

I know we won because I saw within hours the reaction of first, the people of New York City, then the people of the United States of America. I saw within the first hours the three firefighters who lifted the American flag up high, within hours of the attack while it was still life-threatening to be there, as it was for a long time.

They took the American flag and they lifted it up high into the sky. And that picture was shown all over the world. It was quite clear that we had already won when so many people came here from all over the country to help us and assist us. And came to this church which is now used to give some relief and some help to all those people who are doing this very very difficult work. And they came here from all over the country. When the people lined up along the West Side Highway for days. Day after day after day waving the American flag, holding signs saying `We Love You,' giving water to the relief workers that were going down there.

When the people along the West Side Highway cheered with tremendous enthusiasm for me and for George Pataki -- I think four of them had voted for me and four had voted for him. And then when they cheered for President Bush who none of them voted for I knew for sure that we had won.

But as I said at the very beginning of my last discussion and speech, my strength comes absolutely from you and you retain it all. I come from Brooklyn, that's where I was born. That's really the whole reason for my success. My father came from Manhattan and made me a Yankee fan. That's another source of my strength. And why I'm such a contrarian. My father also had to overcome the disappointment that he gave to his father in the mistakes that he made in his life. And he made sure that I wouldn't make the same mistakes. And for that I thank him forever.

And my mother wasn't able to get a college education because she had to work to support a family during the Depression. So she made sure that she instilled in me a tremendous love of history and reading and a tremendous thirst for learning new things and the excitement of it. It's a great gift that she gave me and it probably came out of the fact that she was deprived of being able to have the fulfillment of the education that she wanted. So all of you have all those strengths. The whole city does. I've lived in every part of the city, in Queens, in Brooklyn, in Manhattan, went to school in the Bronx. I never lived or worked in Staten Island, but I love it the most and I'm going to retire there, absolutely.

And I hope that we have fulfilled the pledge that we took four years ago when I was inaugurated for my second term as mayor. It's the oath that Fiorello LaGuardia recited when he took the oath of office as mayor in 1934. I'll read just a part of it:

We will never bring disgrace to this our city by any act of dishonesty or cowardice. Nor ever desert our suffering comrades in the ranks. We will fight for our ideals and the sacred things of the city, both alone and with many. Thus in all these ways we will transmit the city not only not less but far greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.

That's what we have tried to do. And we've tried to do that with our cultural institutions, which are at the core of what this city is all about, with the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art and the new project at Lincoln Center. And you have to go look at the Tweed Courthouse. If we could only change the name of the place. Name it after some Republican. Or you go look at City Hall Park. And what it looks like now. Just as a few examples of what you can do if you just kind of push through all the things that kind of hold you back in a city like this for getting things accomplished.

There are just too many things to talk about and too many people to thank. But there is one big change that has taken place that's the most important and the one that I wanted to 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 percent of the people wanted to leave and nobody wanted to come to, that city now is a very strong and it is a confident city. It's a city that has withstood the worst 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 are in a very holy place. And we are really on territory that is hallowed in very special ways, by the presence of George Washington and all of our brave heros 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. It's an unbelievable thing that that happened.

So I really believe we shouldn't think about this site out there right beyond us right here as a site for economic development. I think we should think about it this way. We should think about how we can find the most creative minds possible who love and honor America and can express that in artistic ways that I can't, but they can. And we should think about a soaring monumental beautiful memorial that just draws millions of people here that just want to see it. And then also want to come here for reading and education and background and research.

Long after we are all gone, it's the sacrifice of our patriots and their heroism that is going to be what this place is remembered for. This is going to be a place that is remembered 100 and 1,000 years from now, like the great battlefields of Europe and of the United States. And we really have to be able to do with it what they did with Normandy or Valley Forge or Bunker Hill or Gettysburg. We have to be able to create something here that enshrines this forever and that allows people to build on it and grow from it.

And it's not going to happen if we just think about it in a very narrow way. How do you replace the offices? And how do you get the jobs? There is plenty of -- we can do all that. We've got to think about it from the point of view of a soaring beautiful memorial. And then if we do that right, if we do that part right, then the economic development will just happen. And millions of people will come here. And you'll have all the economic development you want. And you can do the office space in a lot of different places. And I feel very very strongly about this. And it is something I'm not going to forget and something I'm going to continue to speak up on because I feel I owe that in a very, very personal way. Thousands of people died there. And hundreds of them died as rescue workers. They didn't have to go there. They walked in to try to pull people out. Some of them are very close friends of mine. And some of them are very close friends of people that I love and care about and are related to the people that I love and I care about.

And I'm a survivor like the church is. And so are all those people sitting there: Joe Lhota and Bob Harding and Tony Coles and Rudy Washington, Neal Cohen, Bernie Kerik and Tom Von Essen and Richie Sheirer and Tony Carbonetti and Sonny Mendell and Mike Hess and Jeff Hess, and Adam and Steve, Steve Fischner, Adam Barsky, they were all with me, and Joe Dunn and Joe Esposito, and Patty Verone who helped to get me out, and John Huvaine and Freddy Garcia and Richie Godfrey, who protect me. They got us out and we survived. The building could have fallen in a different way, we could have decided to stay somewhere else and then we wouldn't be here today.

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; 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.

I'm going to conclude not with my words but with somebody else's. On a battlefield in Pennsylvania where a similar number of Americans died for the very same reason, to preserve our Union, a president whose hero when he was growing up was George Washington, gave a speech, a poem and a prayer. And it really says it so much better than I can say it. I'd like to read and conclude with the last part of it:

"We are meant to dedicate a portion of this battlefield as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here. But it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain, that the nation shall under God have a new birth of freedom and that the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth."

God bless New York and God bless America.