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Jennifer Merin

National Geographic's Focus on Giuliani's 9/11

By September 5, 2010

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As we approach the ninth anniversary of the terrible terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, National Geographic focuses our attention on the way NYC's Mayor Rudolph Giuliani handled the crisis.

Giuliani's 9/11 is basically a lengthy on camera interview with Giuliani about his actions, reasoning and feelings, as he learned about the planes flying in to the World Trade Center Towers and realized that America and his city were under attack.

Giuliani's retrospective comments are interspersed with video and stills of the moments he's describing -- the collapse of the towers is shown from different angles, there is footage of black smoke rolling through the streets of downtown New York, and of citizens running from or emerging from the avalanche of ash.

The former NYC Mayor and, later, presidential candidate talks about his decision to establish two command posts (one for the police and administration, the other for firefighters), the pressure he felt to protect other NYC landmarks, important civic centers and the subways, and how he kept the public informed about what was happening in the city.

As the title indicates, this documentary represents Giuliani's point of view, and doesn't delve into investigations about events leading up to the attacks nor is it a critical evaluation of the short and long-term response to the tragedy. It does, however, reveal the way in which Giuliani, unquestionably the man in charge, rose to cope with the extreme pressures and challenges that elevated him, in the public eye, to the stature of national hero.

Giuliani's 9/11 premieres on National Geographic on September 6, 2010, with additional broadcasts. You can view clips

Of course, Giuliani is no longer on NYC's political front lines -- nor, for that matter, on those of the nation -- and this tribute to his public service on and beyond 9/11 is fitting.

But there's a lot more to know about the former mayor, and varying perspectives are always of interest. So, why not take a look, too, at Giuliani Time, Kevin Keating's 2005 documentary that provides a credible summation of news reports and pointed analysis of Giuliani's legacy. Subtitles The Man Who Would Be President, the 118-minute film relies on commentary by notable New York politicos and entrepreneurs--David Dinkins, Ed Koch, Ralph Nader, Al Sharpton, Donald Trump and others--interspersed with well-selected archival footage, to trace Giuliani's evolution from a Mafia-connected kid and Catholic school super-student to his meteoric rise in the Ronald Reagan-led Republican party and, finally, his ascension to his high profile post 9-11 post as "America's Mayor."

(PHOTOS: Rudolph Giuliani, copyright Erica Beckman, courtesy National Geographic; 9/11 firefighter in smoke, copyright US Navy/Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jim Watson, courtesy National Geographic; Rudolph Giuliani and George W. Bush, still from 'Giuliani Time,' courtesy Cinema Libre).


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