I’m just starting Rudolph Giuliani’s book ‘Leadership.’ Written in 2002 and primarily centered on the events of September 11, 2001 and his leadership in navigating NYC through that horrific time… I found this in the beginning and felt it an outstanding message to share….
“In my final days as mayor, I often thought about what made America a special place. When my grandfather Rodolfo Giuliani, for whom I am named, left Italy over a hundred years ago, he set sail for America with only $20 in his pocket. He left his family, his home, everything that was familiar and safe. He saw the obstacles that faced him: a treacherous journey across across a dangerous ocean, coming to a place whose language he didn’t understand. And yet Rodolfo and his wife and my other grandfather and grandmother all made the same choice to come.
How did he do it – overcome all the fears he must have felt? It’s simple. Rodolfo and millions of others were able to answer the call because they were guided by an idea. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, this very special place. It was an idealized vision, undoubtedly romanticized. But by coming here, my forebears and so many others gave something back to America, making it even more special, because they worked hard to make this country better, fairer, more prosperous for themselves and their children.
Abraham Lincoln used to say that the test of one’s Americanism was not one’s family tree; the test was how much one 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 don’t speak only one language, we’re all of these people. We’re tied together by our belief in political democracy, in religious freedom, 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, and because we respect the rule of law.
Those are the ideas that make us Americans. And those are the ideas that I leaned on when it was time to lead, both after September 11 and long before.”
September 11 is and always will be a time everyone remembers… we all remember where we were when the first plane hit… What we were doing when the towers went down, what we were wearing, how we responded to the sight… If you were in NYC, it was like nothing else imaginable.
I stood in a line for the ferry to NJ for over three hours with people covered in ash, people sweaty, hurt and/or dazed. I remember the silence, the smells and as night came – the complete darkness of NYC. NYC, for me, was never completely dark or quiet before September 11. It was eerie.
Standing waiting for the ferry, looking in the eyes of others, there was a hollowness. No one spoke.
I’m looking forward to following Mayor Giuliani’s leadership journey through those days. I’m expecting the perspective and the insight to be an excellent one.