Dick Grasso, who was chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 11, 2001, called on politicians to put aside their differences and unite in honor of the terror attacks on the 19th anniversary.
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“We can never forget those 403 brave souls who never returned home that day to their families, their children," Grasso told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria." The 403 who perished included firefighters, police and other first responders.
"The fact today that there are people who suggest we defund, we eliminate police departments, and defund first responder fire departments, let them answer a very simple question," he said. "If on 9/11 there were no police officers, fire firefighters, would it be social workers, as they would suggest … running into those towers and up those stairs?"
The NYSE CEO recalls 147 people under his watch in the South Tower who all made it out safely thanks to first responders.
"My people who were coming down the stairs of the second tower, those who would talk about the experience, would only say one thing: 'We were heartened, our strength was given to us by those young, brave firefighters and police officers who were running up the stairs and telling us, 'Don't worry. You're going to be fine. Keep going. You're going to get out of here,' and of course … virtually all of those who ran up those stairs, in the South Tower, perished moments later," he said.
A huge United States flag is draped across the front of the New York Stock Exchange on September 15, 2001, in preparation for its reopening on September 17, in New York City. (Getty)
"I think today is a day of reflecting on what made America great," Grasso said. "It wasn't Democrats. It wasn't Republicans. It was Americans, Americans coming together, putting aside their traditional political ideologies and saying we will respond."
Host Maria Bartiromo reflected on reporting from the NYSE and looking at the "carnage" of the attacks that day, getting a call from Grasso, urging calm.
"You've killed people, you've destroyed property, but the American way of life can never be destroyed," Grasso said. "It will rise and we did."
"At a time of a great tragedy. At a time of great calamity, calm voices are so important," he said.
"Today, when we look at the China virus and the reactions of both sides of the aisle, I compliment the president for not getting on the tube and causing greater panic and he didn't."