Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | George Pataki | 911 | Terrorist attack | anniversary | New York

Pataki on 9/11: Despite Tragedy, Anniversary Stirs Pride in New Yorkers

By    |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 01:12 PM

Thirteen years later, the sense of loss felt on 9/11 is still as "front and center" as it was the day two jetliners struck Manhattan's Twin Towers, killing thousands, former New York Gov. George Pataki said Thursday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

Pataki recalled how despite the deep emotion of what was happening that day, he felt, and continues to feel, an enormous sense of pride in how New Yorkers handled the tragedy.

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"For all the sorrow I feel every Sept. 11, I feel pride as well in the way in which New Yorkers came together and responded, the way Americans came together and responded," Pataki told host J.D. Hayworth. "Out of that tragedy we had a sense of unity and common purpose that I only wish we still had today.

Looking back, Pataki said there was no time to process what had happened.

"After you get over the shock of what is happening, you start learning of the magnitude of the loss and the individuals who are lost and yet at the same time, you don't have time to sit back and mourn," he explained. "You have to act and it was absolutely essential to take proactive steps to make sure that we did everything to help from a security standpoint, to help with the recovery operation, and to just try to make sure we dealt with the crisis of the moment."

He began setting priorities. Security and containing the damage as chaos ensued.

"We had been attacked as the towers tragically came down you heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., and no one knew what might happen next," he said.

"So the first was security. I remember talking to President [George W.] Bush, asking him to shut down the air space over New York and he had already taken that step. We were concerned with bridges and tunnels and subways."

Though the planes crashed into two towers, there was "debris everywhere," compounded by dealing with throngs of people fleeing the crash site and lower Manhattan while at the same time trying to rescue or recover those trapped inside the buildings.

There simultaneously emerged a health, fire, and security crisis, he said.

"You had everything unimaginable happen in a very short spell, but we had a great team," Pataki said. "There was never a glitch between state, city, or federal response and as I say, I always feel a tremendous sense of loss and sorrow on Sept. 11 but you can't help but be proud at how those first responders and everyone responded."

Pataki remains especially grateful for construction workers, who he calls "hard hats" who risked their lives for months afterward digging through rubble "to see if one more person could be saved or one more family could have the closure that the remains of their loved one were found."

Also seared in his memory is the visit to ground zero three days later by President George W. Bush, when he made the famous bullhorn speech in which he assured the American people "I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"

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Thirteen years later, the sense of loss felt on 9/11 is still as "front and center" as it was the day two jetliners struck Manhattan's Twin Towers, killing thousands, former New York Gov. George Pataki said Thursday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
George Pataki, 911, Terrorist attack, anniversary, New York
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2014-12-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 01:12 PM
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