The former NYC mayor says home ownership is one of the typically American values that terrorists attempted to destroy

By John Butterfield

ATLANTA, Feb. 8, 2002 (Hanley-Wood News Service) - With fireworks, patriotic hooplah, and heroes both Olympic and political, the 2002 International Builders' Show opened its doors Friday for a four-day run here in Atlanta.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giulani, speaking without notes while strolling the length of the stage in Philips Arena, extolled America's home builders for their efforts -- efforts that he said personify the values of America that terrorists tried to destroy on Sept. 11, 2001. "When you build a home, you're building America," Giuliani said in a speech punctuated frequently with applause. "You're building the idea of America."

He echoed comments from outgoing NAHB President Bruce Smith, who said home builders' aspirations "are the dreams that make the American dream come true. I thank you and I salute you."

Nearly 50 musicians, an honor guard encompassing the U.S. military's five branches, former Olympians Bart Connor, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, a mini-rink full of ice skaters, and assorted athletes potraying Olympic sports participants, regaled thousands of attendees. Long lines and searches of all bags, briefcases, purses and backpacks on the way into the arena reminded all that Sept. 11 still affects American's everyday activities.

But that doesn't mean terrorists should control Americans' actions, Giuliani said. Caution is required -- after all, we're more aware now of the significant dangers we face, Giuliani said. "We have to commit ourselves to eliminate terror and terrorism. That has to be our goal."

But terror and the threat of terror should not deter Americans from living their lives in traditional American ways, he insisted. "Don't let them frighten us to the extent that we don't live our way of life as Americans," Giuliani said.

And for builders, that means one thing, Giuliani said: "Build houses for a lot of people." The standing ovation that followed showed that the home builders in attendance were in full agreement.

Copyright 2002 Hanley-Wood, LLC