Governor Cuomo: "We're going to get through this. The only question is how we get through it and when we get through it. But let's make sure at the end of the day that we can say we are the better for it and our children are the better for it - and I believe they will be."
Cuomo: "This is going to be transformative and formative for society. You think about our children. I have my daughters here with me. This is the first time they faced a real national adversity. You have a whole new generation who have never lived through anything like this. They never went to war. They were never drafted. They never went through a national crisis and this is going to shape them ... at the end of the day they're going to be better people for it and they're going be better citizens for it. I believe that because they're rising to the occasion."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on New Yorkers to adhere to their better angels as their fight against coronavirus is projected to continue for several weeks, noting it's these difficult times that call on us to rise to the occasion and forge character.
AUDIO of today's remarks is available here.
PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
This is a life moment. It's a moment in the life of this country. It's a moment in the life of the world. It's a moment in our family lives. It's a moment for each of us. Each of us is dealing with it in our own way, and my observation has been that when the pressure is on, is when you really see what people are made of, in a personal relationship in a business relationship.
You know, people can be great when everything is great. The question is what does a person do when things aren't great and what does a person do when the pressure is on them? And that's when you can see a little crack in the foundation of a person. But when the pressure is on that little crack, that little crack can explode and that foundation can crumble. Or, you can see the exact opposite. You can see them get stronger. But you get to see what they're really made of and you get to see the best. You get to see the worst. You get to see the beauty in people. And you get to see the opposite.
The outpouring of support for the people of New York has been so inspiring. Not just from New Yorkers. I'm telling you from across the country, from across the world. You would be amazed at how many phone calls we get. How many offers of support. How many creative ideas from everyone.
We've asked medical staff to volunteer. Retired medical staff who are no longer practicing. 40,000 had volunteered. We now have 12,000 people in one day volunteering to helping on the medical staff. We asked mental health professionals to come forward to volunteer. To offer free mental health services for people who are dealing with the stress and trauma of this situation. We had 6,000 people. We now have 8,600 people. We're getting mental health professionals from other states calling up and saying they'll provide mental health services electronically, through Skype or over the telephone.
It gives me such strength and such inspiration. But I don't want to sugarcoat the situation. The situation is not easy, but easy times don't forge character. It's the tough times that forge character, and that's what we're looking at right now. People say to me, people are getting tired of this situation. They've been home, its going on a couple of weeks. They're getting tired. Well, the truth is this is not a sprint. This is a marathon. We always said, this is not going to be over quickly. I understand people are tired, but I also understand that people in this situation are really stepping up to the plate and are doing phenomenal work.
So the next time you feel tired and believe me I feel tired, but when I feel tired I think of the first responders who are out there every day showing up. I think of the police officers, of the fire fighters who are up there every day, the grocery store workers who are working double shifts just to keep food on the shelves because people are buying so much food because they're nervous; the pharmacists who have lines going out the door and they're showing up every day, day after day; the transportation workers who don't have the luxury of feeling tired because they have to get up and they have to drive the bus so the nurses in the health care professionals can get to work; and those health care professionals who are dealing with a virus that they didn't even understand - they still don't understand. They're there working, many of them seven days a week.
So yes we're tired but look at what others among us have to do in the challenge they're under and how they are stepping up. And who am I to complain about being tired when so many people are doing such heroic efforts?
I also think this is going to be transformative and formative for society. You think about our children. I have my daughters here with me. This is the first time they faced a real national adversity. You have a whole new generation who have never lived through anything like this. They never went to war. They were never drafted. They never went through a national crisis and this is going to shape them and I can tell you just from having my daughters with me. Yeah, they're hurt, they're scared, but they are also learning through this and at the end of the day they're going to be better people for it and they're going be better citizens for it. I believe that because they're rising to the occasion. As we go through this let's make sure that we're teaching them the right lessons and the right response and those lesson and that response are the lessons that we get from our better angels.
During this difficult time let's listen to the voices of our better angels as individuals, as families, as a community, and as a society. We're going to get through this. The only question is how we get through it and when we get through it. But let's make sure at the end of the day that we can say we are the better for it and our children are the better for it - and I believe they will be.