Well, in an exclusive interview he gave American Media, Inc. for its special commemorative edition 9/11 One Year Later: A Nation Remembers he describes his close brush with death.
"Giuliani later said that he could have died on the morning of 9/11 had it not been for his clear-thinking aides when they were all trapped briefly in a building adjacent to the WTC.THE TESTIMONY OF FORMER COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT BERNARD B. KERIK Opening Remarks Before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, May 18, 2004
"If not for them and how they acted under fire, I would not be standing here talking to you. When the towers fell, we were all trapped in that building. They kept calm and got us out of that basement alive. There's a special bond with people who survive something so horrific. It's true, as some people have said, that it's like being in a war or battle that you survive. There's a bond for life when that happens."
The Complete 9/11 Timeline
"It was clear from the earliest moments after the first crash that the FDNY was responsible for the fire and rescue and the NYPD was responsible for the safe evacuation of civilians from lower Manhattan as well as the security around the sight and security for the rest of the City. Command posts and staging areas for emergency vehicles were immediately established at both ends of the World Trade. The Mayor and I had determined early on that the City’s pre-designated Command and Control Center, located inside of 7 World Trade, was unsafe because of its proximity to the attack. The initial NYPD Command Post was established at Church and Vesey streets and Chief of Department Joe Esposito was commanding operations from that location. The NYPD also had personnel at the FDNY's Command Post that was located off West Street, south of the North Tower, in order to facilitate the exchange of information between the two departments. When the Mayor and I stopped at the FDNY command post minutes after the second plane hit Tower Two for an updated assessment of the situation, I spoke with the NYPD personnel present, including Sgt. John Coughlin, from Emergency Services
"As the Mayor and I, along with the Fire Commissioner, the Director of OEM and others, attempted to locate a suitable interim where city government would regroup, my staff maintained constant contact with my field commanders
"A makeshift executive command post was established several blocks away at an office building located at 75 Barclay Street, in order to give the Mayor, other agency heads and me an opportunity to regroup and re-strategize based on the latest developments. Hard-line phone contact was established with Washington and Albany.
"Although the Mayor spoke to the media as we moved north on our search for temporary headquarters, from a firehouse on Houston Street, he delivered one of the first status reports to the general public, calling for calm, for cooperation and for prayers.
"By afternoon, a new command and control center was established at the NYPD Police Academy located on East 20th Street. With follow-up attacks still a critical concern, the location of the new center was not initially released to the general public. Nevertheless, literally within hours of first plane striking the North Tower, a fully functional, multi-agency command center was operating, manned by representatives from every federal, state and local agency and organization participating in the rescue and recovery effort. By mid-afternoon Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki were able to convene the first of what would become a steady stream of multi-agency meetings, with the heads of the City Police, Fire, and Health Departments, among others, sitting alongside relief agencies like FEMA to ensure that the response was immediate, coordinated and comprehensive.
"Subsequently, OEM staff members request the OEM command bus, which is equipped with radios and computers, to use as a mobile operations center. This is then used to set up a temporary command post, located at one point in front of 70 Barclay Street, with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, OEM Commissioner John Odermatt, and the police and fire commissioners all present. Giuliani is apparently at this post when forewarned of the WTC collapse (see ). Alarm is raised when a panel truck is stopped near the temporary command post, with a painting of a plane flying into the World Trade Center on it. Fearing that it might be a truck bomb, the New York Police Department immediately evacuates the surrounding area and calls out the bomb squad."Lifesaver Hero: Rudolph Giuliani by Jonathan Alter Newsweek Magazine September 24, 2001
"Giuliani’s mobilization of the city’s emergency services has been a marvel, but management alone wouldn’t have created such an aura had the mayor himself not been touched by fire. Late in the week I saw both places he holed up amid the onslaught. From the looks of them now, I’m sure glad I wasn’t there on Tuesday.Harvard Business School Bulletin April 2002
"The first was an FDNY (Fire Department of New York) command post on West Street near the North Tower. Giuliani got a briefing on the evacuations from senior chiefs, even the most experienced of whom had no idea that the burning towers would actually collapse. But 10 minutes after the mayor left, the first tower went down. Immediately, the firefighters knew the second, closer tower would fall, too. Instead of moving backward, many, including the senior men, held their position, all but certain they would perish.
"From there Giuliani, needing phone lines, commandeered a Merrill Lynch back office at 75 Barclay Street. After 45 minutes someone yelled, "Get down! It’s coming down!" The force of the collapse flattened the building across the street, and a huge plume of smoke blocked the exit the mayoral party needed. Giuliani, wearing a gas mask, was led running through a smoke-filled basement maze and out the other side, where the soot they’re now calling "gray snow" was a foot deep. The doomed were jumping out of the remaining tower before the mayor’s eyes. Except for a walkie-talkie, all connection with the outside world was cut. Stripping off the gas mask, Giuliani and a small group set off on foot for a mile hike up Church Street, urging the ghostly, ash-caked survivors to "Go north! Go north!" A distraught African-American woman approached, and the mayor touched her face, telling her, "It’s going to be OK." Farther up, a young rowdy got the mayoral "Shhhhhh!" he deserved. That set the tone. He was sensitive and tough and totally on top of everything from DNA on toothbrushes (to help identify bodies) to structural engineering. Even his press criticism was, for once, on target. And even his harshest critics offered nothing but sincere praise."
Seated at his desk, Lhota suddenly heard “a screeching noise” and then an explosion. He ran to the front steps of City Hall, where a police officer told him that a plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center, five blocks away. Thanks to his city-provided car and driver, “I was at the building three minutes later,” says Lhota, who started directing traffic, knowing that emergency vehicles would soon be arriving at the scene. “At this point, I assumed it was an accident.”
Lhota was spotted by Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, and as the two men pumped each other for information, the second plane hit the south tower and exploded. Debris rained down, and Lhota sought cover by jumping into a nearby parked car. Seconds later, a huge chunk of falling metal — part of the Trade Center’s facade — crashed onto the car’s roof, shattering all its windows and nearly crushing it. Sprayed with glass, Lhota scrambled from the wrecked vehicle and made his way to a nearby fire command center, a location previously designated as an emergency rendezvous point, where he found the mayor and other city officials had gathered. As Fire Department officials headed toward the Trade Center, Lhota and the others went to 75 Barclay Street, formerly a Merrill Lynch office, searching for working phone lines — “communications meant everything at that point, and cell phones were useless, overloaded with calls,” Lhota says. “We got through to the governor’s office and peppered them with questions: Is this terrorism? Are more planes on the way? Are the airports closed? Should we close the tunnels? The mayor also wanted to talk to the White House. As I handed him the phone, saying, ‘Vice President Cheney is about to get on the line,’ a police official ran in yelling, ‘Get down! Everybody get down! It’s coming down!’”
Police Officer: "It's a remote controlled plane filled with explosives"
Dispatcher: "10-5 on the message, a plane be advised, approved (inaudible)...central
Police Officer: "Give a update on the plane...central I have an message on that plane, it's ah, it's ah big truck..."
Police Officer: "...A big mural of a plane diving into New York City and exploding, no ones in the truck. The truck is in between 6th and 7th on King Street."
Dispatcher: "Alright 10-4 I will send the bomb squad, (inaudible)"
Unidentified Man: "(inaudible)"
Police Officer: "With a mural painted airplane diving into in to New York blowing up. Two men got out of the truck, ran away from there. We got those two under 'K'"
Norman Minetta report
Saving City Lifelines: Lessons Learned in the Terrorist Attacks
"There were continuing moments of alarm. A panel truck with a painting of a plane flying into the World Trade Center was stopped near the temporary command post. It proved to be rented to a group of ethnic Middle Eastern people who did not speak English. Fearing that it might be a truck bomb, the NYPD immediately evacuated the area, called out the bomb squad, and detained the occupants until a thorough search was made."