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January 26, 2007




This week I was honored to attend the State of the Union Address as a guest of Speaker Pelosi.  Some guests, like me, were in the audience to put a face on the issues they feel passionate about.  Although I didn't have an opportunity to meet them, some family members were in attendance to bring attention to the increasingly serious health concerns of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers.  You may have read about 21-year-old Ceasar Borja, Jr., who attended the Address despite learning that his father, WTC rescue worker Ceasar Borja, Sr., had died just hours before from lung failure. His strength and conviction is a painful reminder of how many of us became public figures despite our pain and grief.


Although not mentioned in the Address, I hope all levels of government will work to fully implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations and address the devastating health concerns of the brave rescue and recovery workers.  I recently came upon a quote that inspires me, and I wish to share it with you: "If you don't like the way the world is, you change it.  You have an obligation to change it.  You just do it one step at a time."  - Marian Wright Edelman


Our best wishes to you and your families,


Mary Fetchet

Founding Director






VOICES Launches New Survey


VOICES has received an excellent response so far to our new survey designed to evaluate the experiences and needs of individuals 5 years after 9/11. If you have already taken the survey, thank you! But we ask that you encourage your family, friends and anybody who might want to participate to take the survey online today.




Once the window pops up, enter the recipients' email addresses and click send. Thank you in advance for spreading the word on this important survey!



To Michelle
@ 866-505-3911 or




Click here for an invitation and directions to the New Canaan Library.




9/11 Living Memorial Spotlight


Family Tribute for Giovanna Gambale


Families who lost loved ones on 9/11 bear a special burden of grief because of the public nature of their loss. For the Gambale family, the 9/11 attacks hit home doubly because two of its members--sisters Giovanna ("Gennie") and Antonia--worked in the North Tower of the WTC. As the dust caused by the collapse of the towers settled, the Gambale's rejoiced that Antonia, who worked on the fifth floor, had quickly evacuated. But their joy was tempered with the realization that Gennie was still unaccounted for--and she worked at E-Speed/Cantor Fitzgerald on the 102nd floor. The family quickly printed 5,000 "We Need Your Help" posters with Gennie's picture and information, hoping that someone knew where she was. Her father, Tony describes the effort in Gennie's Family Tribute page... click here to read more of this story.


To start building a page dedicated to your loved one, please contact family liaison Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or by email.






9/11 Worker Health Care Center Stage at State of Union


The ongoing health crisis for Ground Zero rescue, recovery and clean-up workers was center stage Tuesday during President Bush’s State of the Union address. Looking down from the House of Representatives gallery was Ceasar Borja, Jr. 21, who attended the speech to call attention to the health care needs of workers like his father. Ceasar Borja, Sr., was a veteran NYPD officer who suffered lung infections and other complications his family says were caused by his exposure to harmful material at the WTC site. In a poignant twist, Ceasar listened to the President knowing that, only hours before, his father passed away in a New York hospital ICU. With a courage that belies his young age, Ceasar chose to attend the State of the Union despite his devastating loss. President Bush did not mention WTC health issues in his speech, but news reports tell us that Ceasar has sought a meeting on the issue with the President... Click here to read more of this story.


NY Delegation to Fight for $1.9 Billion in Health Care Funding


Ceasar Borja, Jr. attended the State of the Union as a guest of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), who has called for President Bush to dedicate $1.9 billion in next year’s budget specifically to long-term health care for Ground Zero workers. "We want the president and members of Congress to see the faces of those who have suffered because of our negligence in refusing to take care of the people who responded to 9/11," Sen. Clinton is quoted in NY Newsday coverage. Other outspoken New York Congressional advocates for increased federal funding include Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D), Jerrold Nadler (D), and Vito Fossella (R). At a Ground Zero Press conference this Monday, Rep. Maloney staked out their position: “So our message is clear. We need a line item in [the Presidential] budget that will treat all the health issues of 9-11 first responders.... calls for monitoring of everyone who was exposed... the attack here on ground zero was an attack against our country... they were there for our country... now we need to be there for them... that's the least we can do,” as quoted in CNN coverage. However, the Associated Press tells us this week that some public health experts still deny that there is a provable causal between exposure to WTC dust and the pulmonary diseases and cancers plaguing Ground Zero Workers... click here to read more of this story.





Family Coalition Protests Plan for Display of Names at Memorial


This week, a new coalition formed by some 9/11 family members launched a public campaign to force a change in the way the victims’ names will be displayed at the World Trade Center Memorial. The “Save the 9/11 Memorial” campaign is pushing for the display of more detailed biographical information: age, “affiliation” (meaning place of employment, floor number, and rank if a member of a first responder or ‘uniformed’ service member) along with each victim’s name. "It dawned on me that what the memorial plan the mayor proposed lacks is integrity. It lacks historic integrity and it lacks personal integrity because it does not make human beings of those who lost their lives," Edie Lutnick, who is a leader of the coalition whose brother Gary Lutnick died while working at Cantor Fitzgerald, is quoted in New York Post Coverage. They have begun a media campaign including public service announcements and a website with side-by-side graphics that highlight the differences between their proposal and what they call the “Mayor’s proposal,” the current plan approved by the WTC Memorial Foundation’s Board... Click here to read more of this story.



NYC Releases Additional 911 Calls from September 11th


A statement was issued this week by the NYC Community Assistance Office notifying WTC 9/11 family members that some additional 911 calls were being released today. Click to read the full announcement. Here are the key facts:


-The New York City Police Department recently discovered additional portions of a number of calls that had been previously released and some conversations that had not been released at all. In all, 19 such calls or portions of calls are being released today.


-The 911 callers’ part of the call is protected by the right of privacy and has been redacted from these calls (except a caller who was performing his official job duties.)

The City of New York has been able to identify some of the callers. We have already contacted the next of kin of the identified callers (except for one person who is unavailable) and have informed them that we have identified one or more calls made by their loved one and offered to provide them with unredacted recordings of their loved one’s calls. If any one else has not been contacted, it means we have not identified a call from his or her loved one.


-We are sorry for any additional pain that is caused by this public release of additional 911 calls.





NY's New Preparedness Director Tries to Learn Lessons of 9/11


In a speech at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy this week, newly appointed New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni discussed the challenges he will face and the preparedness priorities he plans to address this year. The job makes Balboni responsible for day-to-day management of homeland security affairs, emergency preparedness and response, and law enforcement. Balboni, a former Republican state senator who crossed party lines to join the administration of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, says he was deeply affected by 9/11 (he lost colleagues and friends and his sister had an appointment at the Trade Center that morning) and will bring vigor and bipartisan credentials to the vital post. "[9/11] left an indelible imprint on my mind," Balboni is quoted in NY Newsday. "I'm very focused on the issues and on the job at hand. Do I have the people around me? Do I have the information? Do I have the relationships? And if I don't, I have to develop them or get out."

Balboni laid out his areas of focus for 2007:

- Improved monitoring of mass transit and rail lines. 

- Completing a statewide interoperable communication system for first responders.

- Developing new networks to convey emergency information to the public.

- Increased focus on protection plans for the Port of N.Y. and N.J., as well as on

"resiliency planning," to "imagine the unthinkable and then plan for it."

- Improving information flow among local, state and federal law enforcement and counter-terror agencies.

He also wants to beef up security at the Mohawk Indian reservation that borders Canada and upstate New York, as well as lobby the Department of Homeland Security for a larger share of federal grant money for preparedness.

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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.