november 10, 2006
DEAR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS,
Now that the mid-term elections are behind us, we are encouraged about the leadership’s commitment to legislating and implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations! It is very important to hear incoming Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, add the “implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations” as a priority in the new Congress. We want to recognize individuals who have worked tirelessly over the past 5 years to both create the 9/11 Commission and legislate the 9/11 recommendations: Senators Susan Collins, (R, ME); Joe Lieberman, (D, CT); and John McCain, (R.AZ); Reps. Jane Harman, (D, CA.), Peter Hoekstra, (R,MI); Carolyn Maloney, (D, NY) and Christopher Shays, (R. CT). We hope that the leadership will draw from the expertise and experience of these dedicated public servants, from both sides of the aisle, as they focus on their agenda.
Voices of September 11th will continue our nonpartisan advocacy as we meet with our elected officials and other like-minded advocates. We will keep you informed of the status of these efforts and highlight opportunities for you to make your voice heard. Your help will be critical as we continue to support implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
As you may be aware, last Monday I joined other 9/11 family members at the ceremony held beside the famous warship Intrepid. Unfortunately, the Salute to the 9/11 Families at Battery Park was cancelled due to problems launching the Intrepid. I want to thank those of you who traveled into NYC - we will keep you informed if the event is rescheduled.
In closing, tomorrow we pause to remember the service and sacrifice of those who have fought to defend our nation. We also honor those who serve today both here and abroad and hope they will soon return to their family and friends. We especially remember Joe Coppo, Jr. who is a 9/11 family member serving in Iraq. Our thoughts are with Pat Coppo and all military families whose loved ones are overseas, especially as the holiday season approaches.
As always, feel free to contact our office if we can be of any assistance.
Join the Monday Siblings Teleconference Group
There is still space available in the Monday evening siblings support teleconference. If you are interested in participating, the group meets every other Monday evening at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Our next session will be on November 20. Please call 866-505-3911 to register. Click here to read more about VOICES support offerings.
||9/11 Living Memorial Spotlight
St. Lucasz Chapel and Memorial Bells, Suwalki, Poland
Since 9/11, hundreds of memorial sites large and small have been dedicated to the memory of the victims—both individually and collectively. The 9/11 Living Memorial is proud to offer pictures and information on these wonderful tributes. This week, we are spotlighting a very special memorial for Lukasz Milewski in Suwalki, Poland, a town in northeast Poland near the Lithuanian border. Lukasz grew up in Suwalki, but was a resident of Forest Hills, Queens employed at Cantor Fitzgerald. Lukasz was only 21 on 9/11. To honor Lucasz’ memory, his family paid the cost for finishing a small chapel in Suwalki dedicated to the evangelist St. Lucasz—St. Luke in English. They also gave the three large memorial bells shown at left as a tribute to thier son and brother. Click here to visit the memorial's page.
The family writes: "We wanted this chapel and these bells to celebrate Lukasz's life and remind people of what happened in New York on Sept. 11th and how hate and bad interpretation of the religion destroyed many people. We also wanted to give the people of Suwalki a beautiful place to pray." Lucasz’ Family Tribute page includes a touching tribute from his sister recounting her brother’s life in an A-Z alphabetical format as well as information about the scholarship fund established for young Polish students in Lucasz' memory.
Like all the heroes of 9/11, Lukasz was taken from his family and friends too soon. We hear this week that the world may have to wait one year longer for the Memorial Museum and Visitor's Center dedicated to their memory. But as the concrete is poured and the steel girders rise once again at the WTC site, we remember those we build for. As we build, and rebuild, we will always remember.
To add information on a memorial dedicated to your loved one, contact Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|| NEWS IN BRIEF
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Democrats Take House and Senate
Promise Full Implementation of All 9/11 Commission Recommendations
Democrats stormed back into power this Tuesday with an overwhelming swing in the House of Representatives and secured a majority of one in the Senate. During the campaign, the Democrats released “A New Direction For America” (click to download a large PDF file)which laid out their agenda should they retake power. Featured prominently in the section entitled “Real Security” is a commitment to “immediately implement the recommendations of the independent bipartisan 9/11 Commission.” However, the new leadership has not released a plan and timetable for full implementation--read more in a GovExec.com article.
VOICES applauds their commitment and issued a press release on Tuesday calling for the Congress and Bush Administration to work in bi-partisan manner to implement the reforms. The release states: “VOICES will remain steadfast and work with like-minded leaders as long as it takes. We will closely monitor the progress of these vital reforms. We cannot allow the 9/11 Commission report to sit on a shelf and suffer the fate of previous commissions that evaluated the threat of terrorism. The full implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations MUST be a priority for the 110th Congress – the safety of our families and communities depends upon it!” Read the full release on the VOICES website, and stay tuned to the VOICES e-Newsletter for regular updates on these vital reforms.
USS Intrepid Move Postponed
The USS Intrepid has been moored at pier 86 on the Hudson River for 24 years. Apparently it’s not yet ready to make a move. On Monday, the Intrepid was supposed to travel down the Hudson to shipyards at Bayonne, NJ for a much needed $60 million overhaul and remodeling. The Intrepid is home to a popular Sea, Air and Space Museum visited by millions each year. The overhaul will expand the ship’s exhibition spaces and generally make it friendlier to visitors. The move was scheduled to take advantage of yearly high tides, and a multi-million dollar dredging effort was undertaken to clear a path. But the aircraft carrier’s massive propellers became stuck in the mud and the efforts of six tugboats failed to dislodge the vessel. Read more in Associated Press coverage.
A ceremony to honor the 9/11 Families had been scheduled for Monday as the Intrepid passed by Ground Zero. The move will be reattempted later, but no timetable has been released. VOICES e-Newsletter will keep you posted if the ceremony is rescheduled. "The plans to relocate the ship to Bayonne are unchanged, and we look forward to
continuing her mission as the Intrepid embarks on another chapter in her
extraordinary history," said Bill White, President, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum in a statement.
||EVENTS AND INFORMATION FOR 9/11 COMMUNITY
Monday, November 20, 2006
Free WTC Workers' Health Forum
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: 14 Vesey Street
Free public forum to address the injuries sustained by the World Trade Center’s first responders. Health advocates are calling for the continuing medical surveillance for the first responders on Sept. 11, as some diseases related to their service might only become evident decades later. Supporters also call on federal leaders to establish a criterion in order to better prepare for any mental and physical issues that might arise from future disasters. Read More in Downtown Express coverage.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
9/11: Living With the Aftermath
Free conference for WTC Medical Monitoring Program participants and their families
Time: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: AFSCME DC 37
125 Barclay Street (also 140 Park Place)
New York, NY (Manhattan)
This conference will be held on and is open to all WTC Medical Monitoring Program participants and their family members. Come hear about the latest health findings, attend workshops on how to apply for benefits and cope with stress, and meet fellow 9/11 workers and volunteers. Click here for more information. Register today -- space is limited! Register online or call 212-241-7830.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Tuesday's Children Presents “Nurture Your Heart” with Dr. Robin Smith
Time: 6:00 reception, 7:30 Lecture
Location: The Princeton Club of New York
15 West 43rd Street, New York, New York
Contact Nancy at 516 562-9000 or email@example.com
Learn more about Dr. Robin Smith
Columbia University Grief Study Phase Two
The 9/11 Grief Study Team has recently invited those of you who participated in Phase I to complete Phase II of the 9/11 Grief Survey. The study is aimed at understanding all possible psychological responses to loss. Wherever you are in the grief process, please take half an hour to complete Phase II of the survey.
For those who haven’t participated yet in Phase II, but did participate in Phase I, please log onto the study website at www.9-11survey.org. If you don’t remember your password and PIN code you can request them online in www.9-11survey.org. If you have questions regarding the study please address them to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Yuval Neria from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org. For help with your password or PIN code you may also contact Scott Noonan at email@example.com.
||wtc site update
WTC Museum and Visitors Center May Be Delayed
Officials in charge of building the 9/11 Memorial and Memorial Museum at the WTC site have announced that parts of the planned complex may not open until September 11, 2010, a one-year delay from the original schedule. The delay stems from a decision to prioritize construction of the Freedom Tower and other office buildings planned for the site. The memorial itself, twin reflecting pools called “Reflecting Absence” by designer Michael Arad will open on time—September 11th, 2009. The Museum and a Visitor’s Center planned for the memorial complex will probably open a year later.
However, Foundation Vice President Lynn Rasic noted in a press statement that 2010 is still "a conservative estimate" of when the museum will open, and the timetable may move back up. She added, "Given the intense amount of construction... in such close proximity at the site, it is not surprising that sequencing and coordination of these projects must occur," according to NY Daily News coverage. "This is starting a brand-new, essentially international museum," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother was killed on Sept. 11. "The more time we have to do that, the better that is." Burlingame is quoted in Associated Press Coverage.
More Bone Fragments Found Near WTC; No Search at Fresh Kills
Workers found ten bone fragments in a second manhole at the World Trade Center site, close to where about 200 bones had already been recovered, officials said this week. According to Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office, the remains were recovered in two stages on Saturday and again on Thursday along a service road on the site's western edge. The bone pieces, 1 to 4 inches long, were the first pieces of remains recovered from the site in more than a week. The manhole where the remains were found is directly across from the manhole where utility workers accidentally discovered bones on Oct. 19, causing the city to issue a new search plan, according to Associated Press Coverage.
In other developments, Mayor Mike Bloomberg has refused calls for another search of the WTC debris at the Fresh Kills landfill site for possible human remains. "We did as careful a job as we possibly could,” said Bloomberg on his radio show, as quoted in NY1 coverage. “We are not going to dig that up again. It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There's no other place to put it. And there's no reason to."
Judge: WTC Insurers Off the Hook for Improvement Costs
Insurers of the WTC site are responsible only for the replacement cost of the buildings, not for nearly $700 million sought by developer Larry Silverstein for security upgrades at the site’s new office towers. “ Separately and together, the provisions unambiguously establish that the most the insured can recover on a replacement cost basis is the amount it would cost to reproduce the WTC beam-for-beam, pane-for-pane, as it stood early on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001,” Judge Harold Baer of U.S. District Court said in his opinion. Silverstein had argued is that “replacement” cost is what it would cost to replace the buildings today, including meeting new building codes and safety and security regulations imposed by WTC site owner the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The issue is covered in depth in an excellent Center for Defense Information article.
$1 Billion Cap Proposed on City’s Ground Zero Liability
A federal judge has proposed a $1 billion cap be placed on a fund to pay out lawsuits against the city by workers who have suffered negative health effects from their service at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein indicated on Friday that he might make a formal finding on a limit to the liability soon. He is expected to appoint a special master to arbitrate claims so that injured workers can recover money they need for health care. At least 6,200 lawsuits have been filed by emergency workers. Hellerstein expects between 10,000 and 11,000 workers total will file lawsuits. According to Associated Press coverage
Hellerstein told more than 100 lawyers packed in his courtroom that the cap on damages would shorten litigation needs and speed payouts to those who need them. Otherwise, he said, "we'll die and our children will die and our grandchildren will die before this litigation ends." He also expressed concerns that extended litigation would benefit the trial lawyers more than their clients. Lawyers for the city greeted the judge’s idea enthusiastically. Predictably, lawyers for the plaintiffs were much cooler to the plan.