America’s Mayor

August 4, 2011 — In a few short weeks, the September issue of Yankees Magazine will be on sale, and it will include several peoples’ recollections of the tragic events of 9/11, as well as a feature story about the Yankees’ uplifting run to 2001 World Series.

While the sadness that New Yorkers, Americans and especially those who lost loved ones, were forced to endure is indescribable, the spirit and resilience that New York City has shown in the decade since 9/11 is awe-inspiring.

In an interview with former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the Women’s Issue of Yankees Magazine, which comes out on August 8, I asked Secretary Rice share her thoughts on the way New Yorkers have fought back from the nation’s greatest tragedy. Trust me when I tell you, Secretary Rice’s answer will resonate with you.

I asked that same question to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in an interview at the Yogi Berra Museum Celebrity Golf Classic in June. Guiliani’s answer provided great perspective on New York’s City’s comeback, and, in my opinion, reaffirmed why New York is the greatest city in the world.

“It’s remarkable,” Guiliani said. “On the night of Sept. 11, I asked New Yorkers to be stronger, and they haven’t disappointed me — not that I thought they would. New York is stronger now than it was before Sept. 11, spiritually, mentally and in every other way. They’ve shown great resilience, and that is a weapon against terrorism, because it proves that terrorists can’t break our will.”

Those words along with the rest of the “5 Minutes with Rudy Giuliani” piece will be published in the September issue of Yankees Magazine.

While I believe that every answer Guiliani gave in that interview was as interesting as it was inspiring, I wasn’t surprised. After all, it was Giuliani who provided the city with leadership and guidance strong enough to earn him TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2001 as well as honorary knighthood from England’s Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

You’ll have to wait until the September issue comes out to read the entire interview, but I will share an additional anecdote that Guiliani provided. When I asked the life-long Yankees fan to describe the role the Yankees played in lifting the spirits of New Yorkers, Giuliani gave a heartfelt response.

“The Yankees were very important, and baseball made a big difference,” he said. “By going to a large number of funerals after 9/11, I realized that so many of the people who were killed, as well as their family members, were baseball fans. The thrilling games that the Yankees won during the 2001 postseason helped get the spirits of those families up. People who lost loved ones told me that the two miracle comebacks that the Yankees made in Game 4 and in Game 5 of the World Series made them feel as if their loved ones were watching the Yankees with them. The Yankees reminded people of what you need to be reminded of when you are very sad, and that is that life does go on and that while it is difficult, you can deal with such great loss.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

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