9112001 by Wilborn R. Hampton

9112001 by Wilborn R. Hampton

Author:Wilborn R. Hampton [Hampton, Wilborn]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5637-9
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: 2011-07-10T16:00:00+00:00

After staying in the Greenwich Village firehouse for a little over an hour, Mayor Giuliani moved his headquarters to the Police Academy on 20th Street. The first thing he did was call a meeting of all his aides and city commissioners. Everyone sat around a large table, and the mayor took notes as he went from one to the other and listened to their reports. Giuliani faced myriad decisions and logistical problems. What hospitals needed water or bandages? What trucks were available to deliver supplies? Where did one buy 18-gauge needles? Who could provide several thousand facemasks? How many bulldozers were there in the city at that moment? What could be done about restoring electricity downtown? Telephones? What construction sites around the city had cranes that could be brought downtown? How many city buses could be requisitioned for transportation duty?

After the meeting, the mayor held a formal news conference, the first of many he gave that day. Giuliani’s top priority was to stay in touch with the people of New York, give them all the information he had, issue instructions, and try to calm fears. Televised news conferences seemed the best way to do it. Everybody in the city who wasn’t fleeing downtown was probably in front of a television set.

Giuliani’s day evolved into a routine of situation meetings, news conferences, and forays into the streets. He visited hospitals, talked personally to families of firefighters and police officers, and returned four times to Ground Zero to see the destruction firsthand, the last time shortly after midnight.

The day was also one of personal grief for Giuliani. Almost every hour, he learned about the death of a friend or colleague. He was told that both Chief Ganci and Father Judge had been killed, the priest as he gave last rites to a firefighter at Ground Zero. At Giuliani’s first news conference, as he answered a question about the rescue effort, he suddenly thought of Terry Hatton, the husband of his executive assistant, Beth Petrone. Hatton was the captain of a fire department rescue unit. After the conference, he asked Beth if Terry had been on duty. She nodded yes, tears in her eyes, and he knew that Hatton was dead.

During his two terms as mayor, Giuliani had a sometimes contentious relationship with the news media, often chiding reporters for asking redundant questions. They, in turn, accused him of being imperious. At his news conferences on September 11, Giuliani was always flanked by Governor George Pataki, Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, and Police Commissioner Kerik. He frequently turned the microphone over to them to address specific questions, and he answered the same questions from reporters over and over in a calm, patient voice. If he didn’t know something, he said, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll try to find out and report back to you next time.”

The only issue the mayor refused to discuss that day was any question involving how many people might have been killed. He was polite, almost apologetic, but he would not be drawn into casualty estimates.


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