It’s being broadcast on WGN from Chicago

Jerry Lewis Opens Telethon with Firefighter Tribute
Comedian Jerry Lewis, hosting his 37th national telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), began Sunday night’s show with a tribute to the International Association of Fire Fighters.
“We do it tonight because it is absolutely necessary,” Lewis, 76, told an audience in a Hollywood studio, referring to the heavy losses on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center.
Lewis has battled health problems in recent years and was swollen from the effects of steroid-based medication for pulmonary fibrosis, a lung condition.
“They’ve brought me $200 million …,” Lewis said, referring to the union representing the nation’s firefighters, many of whom were lined up in their dress uniforms on stage.
Harold Schaitberger, the president of the firefighters union, appeared with Lewis to discuss the fund-raising efforts his group undertook on behalf of firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
“One of the very first calls I received that day from outside the fire service was from Jerry Lewis,” Schaitberger said, pledging to raise more money for the telethon than the union did last year.
“It was MDA stuff in community after community that put aside their own vital mission to help us in our critical effort,” Schaitberger said. “We’re committed to make this year’s pledge from the IAFF the largest ever.”
After a performance by singer Patti LaBelle and an introduction by co-host Ed McMahon of some of the performers scheduled to appear in the 21-plus hour telethon, Lewis came out on stage and denounced the perpetrators of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.
Calling the hijackers “filthy Mideastern cowards,” Lewis called on viewers to exceed 2001’s fund-raising total of $56.8 million.