Thank you very, very much.
People ask where I get my energy. Well, it's really simple. It comes from you. It comes from here. What I mean by that is 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'll always remain a citizen. The people of the City should understand that all of the source of my strength will endure because you have it. 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 Rodolpho left Italy.
I keep wondering about the very tremendous chance that four different people - my grandfather and grandmother and my other grandfather and grandmother - took. All of them decided to leave, and if one of them hadn't, I wouldn't be here. Of course that's true, probably, for all of you. I think about my grandfather who left his family and the country of his birth. He left everything that was familiar, everything that was safe. He had to have 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. 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 a 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 twenty dollars in his pocket. He didn't have any American Express Travelers Checks hidden away, he didn't have a MasterCard. He had only twenty dollars.
So how did he do it? How did he overcome all of the fears that must have existed? It's very simple, how he did it, and how millions of other people did it, and it's the reason we all have such strength. They were able to do it because they kept thinking about this ideal in their head: America, America, America - the land of the free, home of the brave. This very special place was probably romanticized, but by coming here they made it an even 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 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. 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. He almost died in the Pacific, and he came back and worked as a New York City Police officer in the Emergency Services Unit. On the last day that he was a police officer, as a middle-aged man, he went up on top of the Brooklyn Bridge and took someone down, saved him from suicidal depression. He almost lost his life then, and he's always been my hero. He's one of the reasons I have this love of our Police Department and our Fire Department and the people who do that because I saw that very directly.
My grandfather Rodolpho and my uncle Rudy are just like your fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles, and 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 your belief 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 ethic 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 they're own choices about spending 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 ideas that make us Americans.
The reason I chose to give my farewell address here 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.
It is hallowed by the fact that it was consecrated as a house of God in 1766.
That's a long time ago. And then in April of 1789, George Washington came here
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 care deeply
about America. Then it was consecrated one more time, on September 11th.
When I walked in here from City Hall, I looked up, because every time I've walked toward this church I saw the Twin Towers. This church existed for many years in the shadow of the Twin Towers. On September 11, when the Twin Towers were viciously attacked and came crashing to the ground, they destroyed buildings all around, and did damage as far as City Hall and the southern part of Battery Park City. They covered this whole area with debris and body parts, and in many ways damaged buildings. This chapel remained, not only not destroyed, but not a single window was broken. And I think there's some very special significance in that.
This is the place where George Washington prayed when he first became President of the United States. It also stood strong, powerful, untouched, undaunted by the attacks of these people who hate what we stand for. What we stand for is so much stronger then they are. So this chapel stands for our values. 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 very different than other mayors. It seemed to me that what I had to do was totally change the direction and the course of New York City. Maybe I was right about that, maybe I was wrong about that, but that's the way I felt I had to operate.
I saw the City deteriorating. I saw this City on the front page of Time Magazine in 1990, in which the front cover said, "New York City - The Rotting Apple." That was followed by several years' worth of terrible publicity about the City. There were 2000 murders a year, people fleeing, 320,000 fewer jobs, Fortune 500 companies leaving in record numbers. A 1993 poll said that over 65% 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 poll came out that said 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, 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 then creating high standards for our people.
So I felt that my job as the mayor - I didn't know if I'd succeed or not - was to turn around the City. Because I believed - either rightly or wrongly - we had one last chance to really turn it around in a totally opposite direction from the direction it was going. That created a lot of hostility and a lot of anger, and I knew it would.
The City was headed in the direction it was in because of ideas. There were people who had political philosophies and ideologies that were the reasons the City was headed in the wrong direction, in my view. I had different ideas about where the City should be 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 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 paper illustrates this point better than I think I could have done. It's an article in the Daily News. [Reading] "Murders, shootings, fall in City: dips 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. This would not have been possible eight years ago. [Reading] "For the second week in a row, the Police Department logged a drop in murders and shootings, according to the latest crime statistics. From December 17 to 23, there were nine murders, three fewer than the same period a week ago, and 25 shootings, six fewer than in the same week in 2000. Overall, major crime was down 17% last week compared with the year before. Crime fell 13% the previous week as well. Police commanders had been feeling the heat this month, 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 September 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 ordered them to return to assignments in community policing. Nor does it say that he increased patrol strength in all of the precincts in which City council members get angry that you don't have enough patrol strength. What it says is that he returned them to assignments in the special units - narcotics, warrants, and gang enforcement - which are much maligned but enormously important if you really want to reduce crime. [Reading] " 'Substantial reductions in the last two weeks result from our ability,' said Bernard Kerik, 'through CompStat, to monitor trends and deploy resources to areas where spikes occur.'"
None of this would have been possible eight years ago. This is a rational, reasonable, sensible, strategic response to crime, rather than a political response, such as one that says, "Put cops out on the street where people can see them and politicians are happy." I remember someone suggesting that we should put a police officer on every subway train, and I thought that was a great idea. Put one on every subway car. However, 65% 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.
Here's another example, from an article that I kept. See, they want to know if there's a new Rudy or an old Rudy, it's really the same one. This article goes back to 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 is 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 we've had to deal with in the last seven and three quarter years, first with Commissioner Bratton and then Commissioner Safir and 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 ides 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 FBI, here has been a 67% increase in murder in Boston. In that same time there was a 12% decrease in the City of New York. I don't know, which policing theory would you want to follow? Boston has 82% more crime than New York, San Diego has 16% more crime than New York, and in the last six-month statistics, San Diego had crime go up by 3.9% and New York had it go down by 7.6% The article then goes on to say the following: "The Boston model, which evolved over time, has succeeded in several other cities." This is where the article says the Boston model was used: New Haven has 124.3% more crime then New York City; Indianapolis, 50% more crime. The Boston model is used in Memphis, where crime is up 204% compared to New York and in Portland, Oregon, where crime is up 131%.
The reality is that the model that was adopted for dealing with crime in New York City is the 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 your police officers. It also includes putting a lot of emphasis on quality of life, under the Broken Window Theory. Those are the two major pillars of it. These are 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.
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. Somehow that inhered in an individual liberty or individual right.
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 you were dealing with maybe out of your own guilt, 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 on living on the streets where it's 25 degrees out and where they can be attacked, you would do everything you could to get them off the street. Because if you see someone who is lying on the street, 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 means, first of all, dealing with the basic idea that you have to be indoors, not out on the street. And then you have to figure out what kind of problem the person has. What is it? What makes them live on the street? It isn't normal behavior and 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. 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 who live on the streets have, alcoholism. That only gets worse if you ignore it, or if you enable it. Which what people who encourage people to live on the streets are doing. They're enabling people to be alcoholics. Or maybe that person has a problem with drug addiction or mental illness, or maybe that person is a violent criminal. All of those things have to be dealt with differently, and none of them are helped by ignoring homelessness. It's a cruel thing to do, to have people lying on the street. It's a 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. That is what we've done, and that is what has to continue if we really care about people.
The reform in welfare has been built on a similar idea. 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. The reality is that you're 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 workforce. Because the kindest, most generous and most loving way of taking care of someone is to respect their independence and give them the ability to take care of themselves.
I promised not to use numbers very much in this speech, but I have to use one. No way I would have believed this eight years ago, and I'm a big optimist. I generally look at almost everything from the positive point of view. I don't think you can get through life if you don't look at everything, no matter how difficult it is, from the positive point of view. There are, right now, as we close this administration, 695,000 fewer people on welfare.
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're going to do even better then that. We're already at about 120,000, and we still have a few days to go, so we're going to pick up the rest of those jobs before them. But just think about that. The City used to pick up 8,000 or 9,000 jobs a year for people on welfare and then put 100,000 more people on welfare. Now we're helping people to help themselves. And believe me, that's had a lot to do, at the grassroots level, with the change of morale in the City.
We've worked 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 into office we had a $2.3 billion current deficit. Right now, the new mayor will take over with what looks to be a surplus of over $1 billion. As of a week ago, when we finished the budget modification with the City Council, we had a budget stabilization account and reserves. A budget stabilization account is something we created, that we urge very strongly should be continued, that gave us about a $600 million surplus. Since then, two things have happened. Unfortunately, the income-tax reduction that we wanted wasn't passed. That's the unfortunate part. The good part is that 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. The second thing is that the tax receipts, because Wall Street did better than we anticipated, will probably bring in another $500 million.
This is another principle that we changed, which 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 despite the destruction the World Trade Center, the tremendous impact it's had on us emotionally, and the tremendous impact 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 the three budget directors who are here - Joe Lhota, Bob Harding, and Adam Barsky.
There's just one last thing I have to say about budgets and fiscal responsibility. The whole idea of retiring long-term debt. You know, if I had taken the advice of the monitors on the New York Times editorial board that's actually a good thing to do, not take their advice. I could write that down as a rule: do not take their advice. Actually, political officials should not be so affected by editorial boards, whether it's 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? No? Okay. 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 really don't understand how you balance a budget, because they don't have to do it. And they certainly don't understand how to balance a $40 billion budget, because they've never had to do anything like that. And the reality is that their advice about retiring long-term debt would have resulted in the City being in bankruptcy right now.
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 a tremendous immediate-year gap. A gap a year from now or two years from now we 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 revenue. 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, the only thing the City used to do is lay people off, and then it affects your bond rating. So I would also urge people to go a little deeper in thinking about how the budget operates.
And one last piece of advice on budget and the economy. It's one thing that we changed dramatically. I would not let the anti-development philosophy rule my decisions. This City has a strain in it, a very dangerous one, that opposes development of any kind, anywhere, anyplace. And then it wonders why unemployment is high. Well, if you're 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 anti-development philosophy. We did more developing in the last eight years then 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. I don't know what they were doing in Brooklyn for the past 50 years, but there was no hotel in Brooklyn for 50 years. We also brought baseball back to Brooklyn, and Staten Island. And the one that I'm the most proud of and keep going to look at is the AOL Time Warner headquarters and Jazz at Lincoln Center on Columbus Circle. That's a grand new project that was mired in the anti-development philosophy. I could give you all kinds of examples like that: hotels that were built, office buildings that have gone up. Also, new courthouses in every borough, with the strong support and help of Chief Judge Kaye.
But you have to fight the anti-development philosophy. Because it's there and it can be very harmful, particularly now when the City has to work its way out of two things: First, the attack on the World Trade Center and the impact that's had on our economy. I'm not sure some of that wasn't exaggerated now when I look at our tax receipts - the impact of the World Trade Center. But the second part is that the national economy, no matter how hard we try to outperform it, as we now do, is still going to effect us.
So 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 for the last 3 or 4 years. We used to under perform them. If we go back to low development and high taxes, and we're going to begin to under perform again. So I think that those are two ideas that we changed, that have to remain part of the political philosophy of the City.
I think the key to our success as a City, the reason that we are the most famous City in the world, and the reason that we really, legitimately are the Capital of the World, is really just one thing: immigration. We are an open City. We've 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're going to end up hating everybody - or do you kind of get beyond that, and see that in fact, with every group, most people are decent people who are trying to do the same thing that you're doing? I think New York allows more and more people to see that than any place else, because we keep bumping into each other all the time. People who look different than you do, and they have different outfits, and they talk different languages, and they wear different clothes and they say different things. And if you're a person of some degree of common sense and intelligence, that experience opens you up to the feeling that 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 months to stop that in any way at all. We should continue to be open to people. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have more security. That doesn't mean we should be open to people with criminal backgrounds. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't in a very proper and appropriate and even tough way screen the people who come here to make sure that we're 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 on Sunday that I was selected as the [Time Magazine] person of the year. After being a little shocked, my next reaction was that there is 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 we are. The people of New York really don't know how strong they are. They don't 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 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, strong tradition of it. So please remember that my strength completely comes from you. It isn't me, it's yours. And we're going to keep it, and the City is going to go on and its going to be a great, great City.
You know, our enemies insanely commit suicide to serve some irrational purpose. And they think that we're afraid to die. They use to think that we're 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 two blocks from the 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 States 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, but it will go on probably for a longer time than we would like. But I hope we realize that we've already won it. We've 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 knew we won because I saw within hours the reaction, first of the people of New York City, then of the people of the United States of America. I saw, within the first hours, the three firefighters who lifted the American flag up high, right 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 high into the sky. And that picture was shown all over the world. And 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 the people who are doing this very difficult work.
And they came here from all over the country, and 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 who were going down there. 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 - and none of them voted for him - I knew for sure that we had won.
But as I said at the very beginning of my last discussion, my strength comes absolutely from you, and you retain it all. I come from Brooklyn. That's where I was born, that's 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 and 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 tremendous love of history and reading and a tremendous thirst for learning. 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 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.
I hope that we fulfilled the pledge that we took 4 years, when I was inaugurated for my second term as Mayor. It's the oath the Fiorello Laguardia recited when he took the oath of office as Mayor in 1934. I 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 this City, not only not less, but far greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us."
That's what we tried to do. And one of the ways we tried to do that was 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. You have to go take a look at the Tweed Courthouse. If we could change the name of the place - name it after some Republican. Or go look at City Hall Park, and see what it looks like now, just as a few examples of what you can do if you just kind of push through all of the things that 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's one big change that's taken place that is the most important and the one that I wanted to bring about. It's the change in the spirit of the City. The City that used to be called "the rotting apple," that 70% of the people wanted to leave and nobody wanted to come to - that City now is a very strong one, and it's a confident City. It's a City that has withstood the worst attack of any City 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 did so many people die and then end up saving so many people. It's an unbelievable thing that happened.
So I really believe we shouldn't think about the 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 draws millions of people here who just want to see it, and also those who will want to come here for reading and education and background and research.
You know, long after we're all gone, it's the sacrifice of our patriots and their heroism that is going to be what this place is remembered for. It could 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 its not going to happen of we just think about it in a very narrow way - "How do you replace the offices?" "How do you get jobs?" We can do all of that. You've got to think of it from the point of view of a soaring, beautiful memorial. And then if we do that part right, then the economic development will just happen. Millions of people will come here and then we'll have all of the economic development that we want. And we can do the office space in a lot of different places.
I feel very very strongly about this, and it's something that I'm not going to forget, and its something that I'm going to continue to speak up on because I feel that 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 I love and care about, and are related to the people I love and care about. And I'm a survivor like the church is, and so are all those people sitting there. Joe Lhota, Bob Harding, Tony Coles, Rudy Washington, Neal Cohen, Bernie Kerik, Tom Von Essen, and Richard Sheirer, Tony Carbonetti, Sunny Mindel, Mike Hess, Geoff Hess, Steve Fishner, Adam Barsky. They were all with me - and Joe Dunne and Joe Esposito. Patty Verone helped to get me out and John Huvane and Freddy Garcia, Richard Godfried - 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 that 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 met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for 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 live on. 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 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.
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