19 September 2001, New York City, New York, USA
Thankyou very much, welcome to the Late Show, this is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked and I need to ask your patience and indulgence because I want to say a few things, and believe me sadly I’m not going to say anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than I’m equipped to do but if we are going to continue to do shows I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes and so that’s what I’m going to do here. Its terribly sad here in New York city we’ve lost 5000 fellow New Yorkers and you can feel it, you can feel it, you can see it, its terribly sad, terribly, terribly sad, and watching all of this I wasn’t sure that I should be doing a television show because for 20 years we’ve been in the city making fun of everything, making fun of the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of Paul…well.
So to come to this circumstance, this is so desperately sad I – and I don’t trust my judgement in matters like this, but I’ll tell you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani, very early on after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase ‘after the attack’ Mayor Giuliani encouraged us and here lately implored us to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make NYC the place that it should be, and because of him I’m here tonight and I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani, as this began – and if you were like me and in many respects, god I hope your not,
but in this one small measure if you’re like me and you’re watching and your confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief and you don’t know how to behave and you’re not sure what to do, and you don’t really – because we’ve never been through this before all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor, watch how this guy behaved, watch how this guy conducted himself watch what this guy did listen to what this guy said, Rudolf Giuliani is the personification of courage.
And it’s very simple there is only one requirement for any of us and that is to be courageous -- because courage as you might know defines all other human behaviour and I believe because I’ve done a little of this myself -- pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing, he’s an amazing man and far better then we could have hoped for to run the city in the midst of this obscene chaos and attack and also demonstrate human dignity my god who can do that, that’s a pretty short list.
The 20 years we’ve been here in NYC we’ve worked closely with Police Officers and Fire Fighters and –
and fortunately most of us don’t really have to think to much about what these men and women do on a daily basis and the phrase ‘New York's Finest’ and ‘New York's Bravest’ you know, did it mean anything to us personally, first hand, well maybe, hopefully but probably not, but boy it means something now doesn’t it, they put themselves in harm's way to protect people like us and the men and women from the fire fighters and the Police department who are lost are going to be missed by this city for a very, very long time, and my hope for myself and everybody else not only in New York but everywhere is that we never ever take these people for granted, absolutely never take them for granted.
I just want to go through this, and again forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, I’m sorry but I just I have to go through this, the reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead, they weren’t doing anything wrong, they were living there lives, they were going to work, they were travelling, they were
doing what they normally do, as I understand it and my understanding of this is vague at best, another smaller group of people stole some aeroplanes and crashed them into buildings, and we’re told they were zealots fuelled by religious fervour, religious fervour, and if you live to be a thousand years old will that make any sense to you, will that make any god damn sense.
(Dave takes a deep breath to prevent himself form crying)
I’ll tell ya about a thing that happened last night, there’s a town in Montana by the name of Shoto, its about 100 miles south of the Canadian border and I know a little something about this town, its 1600 people, 1600 people and it’s a – an ague business community which means farming and ranching and Montana‘s been in the middle of a drought for, I don’t know, three years and if you got no rain you cant grow anything and if you cant grow anything you cant farm, if you cant grow anything you cant ranch because the cattle don’t have anything to eat and that’s the way life is in this small town 1600 people, last night at the high school auditorium in Shoto Montana they had a rally – home of the Bulldogs by the way, they had a rally for NYC and not just a rally for NYC but a rally to raise money, to raise money for NYC and if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the spirit the United States then I cant help ya, (Dave tears up) I’m sorry.
And I have one more thing to say and then thank god Regis is here so we have something to make fun of.
If you didn’t believe it before and its easy to understand how you might have been skeptical on this point if you didn’t believe it before you can absolutely believe it now, NYC is the greatest city in the world.
We’re going to – we’re gonna try and feel our way through this and we’ll just see how it goes take it a day at a time, we’re lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin and we’ll be right back.