Skip to main content /transcript




America's New War: Giuliani Holds Press Briefing

Aired September 24, 2001 - 10:09   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Let's here what the mayor has to say.


I'm going to have to leave quickly because I'm going to the funeral of Tim Stackpole (ph).

I also would like to apologize to all of the different families of firefighters, Port Authority police officers and other people that work for the city of New York, that they -- I feel very, very bad that I wasn't able to be at their funerals. The mayor should be at the funerals of people who are serving the city of New York who die in the line of duty, and I feel very bad that I was not able to make a number of the firefighter funerals. I will -- to each one of those families we find an opportunity to get together and talk and make certain that your love one is honored in exactly the way that they should be.

In the case of Tim Stackpole, I knew him personally and was at his bedside when he survived the horrible fire in east New York that claimed the lives of three other firefighters.

And as I told his wife and children on Saturday, he was in fact one of the most exceptional human beings I ever met. I fit him in the category of, you know, some of the real heroes that I have. He was burned a large parts of his body after that fire. He just barely survived it. And when the Fire Commissioner Von Essen and I went to visit him at the Cornell Burn Center that night, after we knew we he had lost -- we had very bad casualties that night, we lost three firefighters. When I walked in he was laughing, smiling, said that this meant that he would now have to retire after 40 years of service. He was thinking of going for 50; that would have given him another 20 years of service. He said it will be 40 and out for me. And then he said that he almost always followed his mother's advice of wearing clean underwear, but this morning when he went to work, he didn't, and now is he very embarrassed. And he just had the whole place laughing.


GIULIANI: ... talks, lectures, give them like a tremendous amount of morale, and then of course pushed very, very hard to go back to work as a firefighter, and got himself back to work just a short while ago. And then we lost him. So I want to make sure I'm there for that.


GIULIANI: ... even if it is for a few minutes.

Also, another announcement that's a delicate one. We're going to set up a procedure that will be organized by Wednesday in order for those families who would want to apply for a death certificate to be able to do that. We will set up teams of lawyers who are donating their services free of charge that would help prepare the papers that are necessary to put before the court if you want a death certificate, even before we may be able to recover the remains of your loved one, if we are ultimately going to be able to do that.

We will describe in more detail later today and tomorrow the process, the kinds of things that you need to have with you and the kinds of things that have to be put into an affidavit in order to allow the court to make a determination as to whether a person is legally dead. But there are some people, some families, that have asked about that and wanted to know what the process is, and there are others who don't. So we'll leave it up to the families.

But the Family Center will be organized so that it can do that for large numbers of people starting on Wednesday. It involves being able to show that the person was at work, that the person was there during that period of time. So we'll make a list of all the different things that you would have to bring with you, then lawyers can sit down with you and draft the affidavits. And then it goes before a court, and the court decides whether there is sufficient proof. And then that is given to the medical examiner, and that's how the process works. And we will be able to start doing that for large numbers of people on Wednesday. And that will be at family center.

We have 4,403 filings at the family center. In other words, families have filed, the names of 4,403 people at the family center. So I don't know that we have all -- I don't know that we have all of the names, since we -- right now the missing list is 6,453, and that has been adjusted to correct for the -- at one point we were at 6,333. That was corrected. We went through the 1200 or so additional names that we had, and ultimately now we are at 6,453; 276 are confirmed dead, 206 identified, and 70 not; and 47 are unformed officers, 40 in the fire department, two civilian EMTs, Four Port Authority, a New Jersey firefighter. And we should add also, an FBI agent, John O'Neil (ph), who was a good friend of many of us.

The subways are basically back to normal. They are lighter than usual. The railroads are normal, and they are just about correct. So since the subways are somewhat lighter than normal and the vehicular traffic is pretty crowded, I really do urge people to seriously consider, you know, for the next couple of days, next week or two, to alter their routine and take public transportation. You're going to find it a lot easier a lot more, you're going to find it a lot simpler if you take public transportation. And I think the subways can handle it, they're not terribly overcrowded. So -- and also, employers can consider staggering work somewhat, having people come in earlier; some people come in an hour, an hour and a half earlier, some people come in an hour, an hour and a half later. And in that way be able to deal with the tremendous rush of traffic that is now going on. It as good thing to see that there is a lot of traffic. It means that economic activity will pick up, but there also -- obviously, there's a down side with it, that everyone is very, very crowded.

We also urge people to go back and use airplanes. I know there is a psychological fear of doing that on the part of some people, but the reality is that plane travel in the United States is safe, it is very safe, and a number of people and some experts urge me to just say the following, but I'm not saying it because -- I'm not saying it because they told me to say it, I'm saying it because I didn't thought of saying it and it makes sense to say it: Children shouldn't be afraid, just shouldn't be afraid. They should go out and enjoy themselves and play and play ball and study and do the things they normally do. And adults can help children to not be afraid by not being afraid themselves, by going out and doing the things you normally do and letting your children see that we are going back to being normal. We're going to take airplanes when we're supposed to for business or pleasure. We're going to go to public events and we're going to do the things that we normally would do.

The best way to get your children to stop being afraid is to stop being afraid yourself. Can you say it to them a hundred times, but if you act like you're afraid they're going to internalize that. If you act like you're not, that you understand have you to go about your life, then they will respond and they will reduce some of the fear and some of the worry that they have.

I want to thank all of the people who organized yesterday's prayer service. It was really beautiful and I believe very, very helpful. And it was an incredible effort to organize it with everything else that's going on and to make it so beautiful and to -- I want to thank the Yankees for not only allowing us to use Yankee Stadium, but for helping us in many, many, many ways to make it a beautiful and really very, very inspiring ceremony. I want it thank George Steinbrenner personally, who was there quietly and very, very moved by it. I want to thank Randy Lavene (ph), who helped a great deal in making that happen. I want to particularly thank Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, who spent day and night for four days organizing it. And Marsha Lee (ph) and Bruce Tiltbaum (ph) who helped him do that. It was very, very inspiring, and as far as I can tell, in talking to a number of the family members, who after all it was intended for mostly, it was helpful to them, both those that attended and those who watched it on television and saw the outpouring of support and love that they have.

ZAHN: All right, we leave with Mayor Giuliani right now.



Back to the top