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On Sept. 11, he had been at his makeshift command post in the Engine 24 firehouse just a few minutes when his executive assistant of 18 years, Beth Petrone-Hatton, walked in. In 1998 the mayor officiated at her wedding to Terry Hatton, a dashing Rescue 1 captain who had become part of Giuliani's extended family at City Hall. Now Giuliani asked her, "Terry was working?"
"Yes, he's gone."
Giuliani tried to say it was too soon to know, but she cut him off. "He's gone," she repeated. Then she got to work, organizing Giuliani's situation at the firehouse. People were scared to look her in the eye, but the ones who did saw depths of pain and strength they won't soon forget. Petrone-Hatton saw the same thing in her boss. "He was probably the most 'on' I have ever seen him," she says. "On the one hand, he was devastated, destroyed. He knew he'd lost a lot of friends. But he also knew he had to calm the city down." He started by getting solid information out, and then he went to inspiration. "It was so well orchestrated that you would have thought he had prepared for it forever," Petrone-Hatton says.
In a sense, he had. In the next few days and weeks, Giuliani worked around the clock to pull his city back together, yet he found time for Petrone-Hatton. While managing everything from the logistics of the recovery effort to the symbolism of mass mourning to the reopening of the New York Stock Exchange when others were still worried that the market would tank, Giuliani took the time to track down Hatton's dental records and to go to his firehouse to pick up his razor for a DNA sample. Eulogizing Hatton, Giuliani described him as "the kind of man I would like my son to grow up and become." On Sept. 21, when Petrone-Hatton got the unexpected news that she was pregnant, she made three phone calls to Hatton's parents, to her parents and to Giuliani. "There's something miraculous," she told him. "I'm having a baby." The mayor started "hooting and howling," she says. "That's the best news I've had," he told her.
A week later, Petrone-Hatton was at her doctor's office listening to the baby's heartbeat for the first time, when the mayor summoned her. She was driven to the rectory at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where Giuliani was attending a memorial service. He sat with her and gently told her that Hatton's remains had been found. She said she wanted to be taken to them right away. "I've already been," Giuliani said. He had identified Hatton so his friend would not have to. "You don't want to see him like this," he said.
Agents of Change
People ask, 'have you changed a lot since 9/11?'" Giuliani says. "Actually, I changed more from the prostate cancer. Having to deal with that had a bigger impact and, I think, gave me more wisdom about the importance of life, the lack of control you have over death. It removed some of the fear of death."
His cancer treatment consumed the last six months of 2000. After intense study and consultation with immeasurable help from Nathan, a trained nurse in her mid-40s Giuliani chose a course of treatment involving radioactive-seed implantation and radiation rather than surgery. Just hours after the implantation operation on Sept. 19, 2000, Giuliani held a press conference. The next day he marched in a parade. But two weeks later, he felt "as bad as I had ever felt" the seeds were starting to work. In November he began six weeks of daily external radiation treatments, and they turned out to be "very, very tough weeks" full of nausea, hot flashes, exhaustion. He concealed his condition as best he could, though he sometimes had to excuse himself from meetings or leave the podium during a press conference. And most days he took a long nap.
Nathan, who is divorced and has a teenage daughter, was at his side through it all. Giuliani says he "had all kinds of questions about the cancer are you getting better, are these good symptoms or bad symptoms? and Judith did all the research. Looked it all up. Talked to the doctors. Helped me through it." Nathan recently became managing director of a philanthropic consulting firm called Changing Our World Inc., and she moves easily in Giuliani's supercharged universe. Bump into her late at night in the galley of Donald Trump's private 727, which is carrying the mayor and his entourage to Israel, and she waves a cup of coffee and jokes that a need for caffeine is "one of the many things cops and nurses have in common."