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november 17, 2006



It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is upon us next week!

Our team at VOICES continues to work very hard on your behalf. The 9/11 Living Memorial Project is growing, as many of you have contacted our office to begin creating pages for your loved ones. This week we are highlighting the memorial pages created for Astrid Sohan, who worked at Marsh & McLennan.


Congress was in session this week, and the new leadership in both the House and Senate have committed to working in a bi-partisan manner to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Looking ahead, it is critical that the spirit of bi-partisanship is not just a talking point, but carries over to the legislative process. In an effort to keep our membership informed, each week we will highlight the progress of this vital legislation.


This week the Homeland Security Department launched a national campaign to promote Ready.gov and personal preparedness. We are pleased that First Lady Laura Bush, former President George Bush and Bill Clinton will be appearing in public service announcements to promote awareness. We have included links below to the ad council campaign, as a reminder that we must all take personal responsibility for our families safety.


On a personal note, today would be our son Brad’s 30th birthday. In his memory his friends are holding an annual birthday party. Next week New Canaan High School will retire his Number “6” jersey during the annual alumni hockey game that our sons Chris and Wes will play in. As you know, holidays and birthdays are particularly challenging, but our family feels very fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who continue to honor and remember Brad’s life in such a touching way.

In closing, our office will be closed Thursday and Friday of next week in observance of Thanksgiving. All of us at VOICES wish each of you and your families a blessed and safe holiday.

Warm Regards,


Mary Fetchet




Saturday, December 16, 2006


For the Families of Those Lost on September 11th 2001, Survivors and Rescue workers

Time: 12:30 pm

Location: St. Paul's Chapel, Lower Manhattan


Those who attended the service last year remembered our loved ones with music, a candle service, and children's dance in St. Paul's Chapel--a beautiful and historic space that means so much to the entire 9/11 community. We hope all of you will join us again this year, and we extend an invitation to the entire 9/11 community: family members, survivors, and rescue and recovery workers. VOICES e-Newsletter will bring you details on the program as soon as they are finalized. Click the link to learn more about St. Paul's connection to 9/11.




New members are welcome for the teleconference support group for parents of children age 4-12. The facilitator leads the participants in talking about how to help their children, answer new questions that arise about 9/11, and juggle the many roles parents have. If you are interested in participating, the group meets once a month on Wednesday from 12:30-1:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. Our next session will be on December 13. Please call 866-505-3911 to register. Click here to read more about VOICES support offerings.

  9/11 Living Memorial Spotlight

Family Tribute to Astrid Sohan


The "Family Tributes" section of the 9/11 Living Memorial continues to grow thanks to your help in building permanent homepages for your loved ones. This week, we thank the Sohan family for sharing with our readers the story of Astrid Sohan, beloved daughter and friend, valued employee, and lover of life. Please click here to visit Astrid's Family Tribute.


On 9/11, Astrid was rising quickly as an assistant vice president in the computer department at Marsh and McLennen and looking forward to planning a wedding with her fiance, Mark. Her friends and family remember a young woman who was dedicated to her work but always found time to share with her close family and her many friends. She loved life's simple pleasures: a shared smile, a new pair of shoes, travel to warm and exciting places. And her email address, "Ilovechocolate@..." shows an abiding love for things whose sweetness matched her personality.


Astrid's mother, Barbara, writes on her Family Tribute page: "I treasure my memories of Astrid at age 2, 5, 10, etc. and now I have such a longing for memories of Astrid at 35, 40, etc. I long for the sight of her face and her sweet smile. I wish I could hear just once more the sound of her voice and her contagious laughter. Astrid was my best friend, my confidante. I always looked forward to our time together, even if just on the phone. Now, through my tears I thank God for every day I was blessed to have her with me..." click to read more.


Each story of each life taken on 9/11 is uniquely touching, and we thank all of the families who have shared a small window into the life of their loved one. The 9/11 Living Memorial: we will always remember. To start building a page dedicated to your loved one, please contact Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or by email.





A memo to Mayor Bloomberg released to 9/11 families this week says that recovery work in the abandoned ConEd manholes and service boxes is nearing completion. The search will move this week to the roof of the Millennium Hilton, and an expanded seach around the perimeter of the site will begin in December. The entire search process could last into next summer. According to Wednesday's memo from Ed Skyler, the Deputy Mayor in charge of the recovery plan, the second phase in the process--searching new areas along the western and southern edges of the site is set to begin soon. "Exploratory excavations are planned for the haul road, a section of Liberty Street, and the site of the former St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 140 Liberty Street." The search will later move on to the rooftops of Fiterman Hall and One Liberty Plaza. Recovery from the interior of the Deutsche Bank Building is ongoing and will continue through February.


Skyler states that all material removed from the second phase sites will be transferred to Brooklyn, where it will be sifted for possible human remains and personal property by a team of forensic anthropologists from the Office of the City Medical Examiner (OCME). Human remains will be transferred back to the OCME's main offices for DNA analysis, and personal property will travel to the NYPD Property Clerk's office. The memo states: "As you have instructed, this renewed effort will continue until we have searched every place where remains could be found. The recovery work will be done compassionately and thoroughly." To read the text of the memo in TIFF format, please click here. For more information on the recovery plan, please read the November 3rd edition of VOICES e-Newsletter.


A vocal group of 9/11 family members spearheaded by the advocacy group 9/11 Families for Proper Burial have heavily criticized the both the City's record on recovery and their new plan. Kurt Horning, who leads WTC Families for Proper Burial with his wife Diane, has called for a more thorough search of the haul road: "You just can't dig a hole a couple of feet deep in some spot and then say, 'Well, there's nothing here,'" Horning is quoted in Associated Press coverage. "It means digging up everything that was never looked at, that's what they should do."




The Arts Center planned as a counterpart to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the WTC site is facing serious delays because of a terror expert's concerns about security. Ex-New York FBI chief James Kallstrom, now New York State's anti-terrorism czar, says the underground parking areas at the site need a permanent emergency access lane. Kallstrom has called for the lane to be built near Vesey and Greenwich Sts--right where the Arts Center is to be built. Designed by world famous architect Frank Gehry, the dramatic original design for the center is shown above in an artist's rendering.


So far, it is unclear exactly how the Arts Center will be affected, but redesigns for security reasons could push its opening date back from the current target of 2009 or 2010. Read NY Daily News coverage for more information. The arts center will be occupied by the Signature Theatre Co. and the Joyce International Center for Dance. Last week, the LMDC cut the Center's maximum seating capacity from 2,200 to 1,800.


Monday, November 20
Free WTC Workers' Health Forum
Time: 6 p.m.

Location: 14 Vesey Street

Downtown Manhattan


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.


Tuesday, November 28
Vito Valenti - Ground Zero Health Conference
Location: New Jersey Expo Center in Edison, NJ
Click to learn more about this conference


Tuesday, November 28
Public hearing on W.T.C. tour bus and security center
Time: 4:00 – 8:00 PM
Location: Borough of Manhattan Community College in the Richard Harris Terrace Room at 199 Chambers St. Click for more information.




World Trade Center Health Registry Resource Guide (read PDF)




As part of its ongoing "Ready" national preparedness campaign, the Department of Homeland Security has developed public service announcements (PSAs) to reinforce the need for families to prepare for emergencies. The print ad at left shows the many different places family members may be during an emergency and encourages families to create a contact and meeting plan. According to a DHS press release, "the new PSAs unveiled Tuesday include television, radio, print, internet and outdoor versions created pro bono by BBDO New York. Also released is a television ad featuring First Lady Laura Bush discussing emergency preparedness, and a radio spot featuring former Presidents Bush and Clinton encouraging people to visit Ready.gov. All of the new PSAs highlight the fact that many families have not yet taken the steps needed to prepare for emergencies including getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan and learning more about different emergencies and their appropriate responses. You can view the new ads on the website of the Ad Council--an advertising trade group that has worked with DHS on its "Ready" campaign. Click to visit the Ready homepage, or VOICES own Preparedness page.




Senator Joseph Lieberman ("Independent Democrat"-CT), whose victory as an Independent helped clinch control of the Senate for the Democrats, will be the next leader of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Though he was forced to run on his own Joe 2006 party line after losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont, Lieberman has been embraced once again by Democrats, who need his vote to hold their razor thin 51-49 majority in the Senate. Lieberman retains his seniority, and his independence, noting: "I’m beholden to no particular political group. I was elected as an independent, and the majority of my votes were from independents and Republicans," as quoted in CQ Online coverage. However, the GOP has not actively courted Lieberman, and he shows no signs of bolting from the Democratic caucus. Lieberman has a good working relationship with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who will give up the Chair of the Homeland Security committee when the Democrats take over next January.


The House Homeland Security Committe will be chaired by Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who has been a vocal advocate for the 9/11 Commission recommendations on Capitol hill, especially the vitally important areas of preparedness and first responder communications. Read more about Rep. Thompson's legislative agenda in Government Security Online coverage.



This week, a German appeals court found a Moroccan, Mounir al-Motassadek, guilty of being an accessory to murder in the 9/11 attacks. Al-Motassadek joins Zacarias Moussoui, convicted in U.S. Federal Court earlier this year, as the only men convicted of conspiracy related to the attacks. Al-Motassadek was originally convicted only of a lesser crime relating to his activities as a money manager for Hamburg based al-Qaeda operatives. The appeals court found that he did have advance knowledge of his associates' plans to use hijacked aircraft as missles. The Hamburg Cell included Mohamed Atta al Sayed, who led the four hijacking teams in 2001 and piloted American Airlines Flight 11; Ramzi Binalshibh, who conspired with the other three members but was unable to enter the United States; and Marwan al-Shehhi, who piloted United Airlines Flight 175. Al-Motassadek was sentenced to 15 years in German Prison for his role; however, the case will automatically be appealed under German law. Learn more by reading Reuters coverage.




The new leadership in Congress has pledged to make the remaining 9/11 Commission Recommendations a legislative priority. Fortunately, they already have a roadmap with bipartisan legislation that has been on the Congressional docket since last year. HR 5017 the “Ensuring Implementation of the 9/11 Commission Report Act.” introduced jointly by Reps. Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) calls for all remaining recommendations to be passed into law. Shays and Maloney call the bill "a comprehensive approach to assure the implementation of all 9/11 Commission recommendations." Click the links below to learn more:

Section by Section guide to HR 5017
Letter to Congressional Colleagues by Reps. Shays and Maloney
Letter of Support from 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean and vice-Chair Lee Hamilton

Background Information on Recommendations

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Copyright © 2006 Voices of September 11th.  All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

VOICES of September 11 th is a nonpartisan advocacy group .
VOICES provides services and advocates for families and all those affected by September 11th; promotes public policy reform on prevention, preparedness and response to terrorism;
and builds bridges between international communities changed by terrorism.