April 20, 2007
DEAR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS,
This week, as we paused to remember those who perished and were injured in the Oklahoma City bombing and Columbine attacks, we watched in horror as innocent lives were violently and randomly taken at Virginia Tech.
Like many of you, these incidents brought back memories of the days immediately following 9/11, as we gathered with family and friends awaiting with uncertainty the fate of our loved ones. As I watched a young man, obviously in shock, talk lovingly about his beautiful sister's accomplishments and love of life, I was saddened knowing the long journey that lies ahead for he and his family and friends. I was struck by his strength and concern for the well-being of his parents and siblings. His words reminded me of the challenges my own sons faced after hearing of the death of their brother Brad.
Coincidentally, my son Chris, who was 14 at the time of Brad’s death, recently shared an essay he wrote reflecting about the importance of friends in his healing journey. I have included Chris’ essay below and invite you to submit your children’s reflections as well. My hope is that the families who suffered the untimely loss of a loved one this week will share Chris’ blessing of being surrounded by family and friends in the years to come.
As always, and especially so now, please let us know if we can be of any assistance.
| VOICES PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
Archiving September 11th
Members of VOICES staff were proud to attend the recent archivists' conference on preserving artifacts and documents related to September 11th. An informative article in the Associated Press lays out the importance of these remnants of history and interviews some people who have worked to collect a comprehensive historical record of 9/11. VOICES founding director Mary Fetchet spoke at the conference on her own experience as a 9/11 family member, and asked the archivists in attendance to help VOICES develop a plan for families to preserve mementos of their loved ones. VOICES is also collecting items from family members for the 9/11 Living Memorial Project. Click here to see a list of items we are currently accepting and call Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or toll-free at 1-866-505-3911
Amy Westfeldt of the Associated Press writes:
"Mary Fetchet saved a 43-second telephone message left on the morning of the attacks by her son, Brad, later killed in the south tower. Brad Fetchet, 24, called his mother after a plane hit the first tower, but before the second plane crashed into his building.
"We're fine, we're in World Trade Center Two. I'm obviously alive and well over here, but obviously a pretty scary experience," Fetchet told his mother.
Mary Fetchet, founding director of the Voices of Sept. 11 family group, says: "I want people 100 years from now to be able to listen to that message."
The organization, with several thousand members, is dispensing advice to family members about how to preserve audio, videotapes and photographs of their loved ones, as well as important papers, such as condolence letters the president sent to family members." Click to read the full article
The archival primer is currently in development as part of the 9/11 Living Memorial project. VOICES Weekly e-Newsletter will keep you posted on the best ways for family members to preserve your memories of your loved ones, and for witnesses, survivors and rescue workers to save their own remnants of the history of 9/11.
9/11 Living Memorial Feature
Family Tribute to Janice Ashley
This week we are proud to feature a wonderful Family Tribute page created in memory of Janice Ashley by her mother, VOICES Family Advisory Board member Carol Ashley. A loving biography tells us of a remarkable young woman who pursued scholarship, adventure, drawing and painting, and her vocation in financial services with unflagging energy and an infections spirit: "To her family and friends, Janice was like a sunbeam radiating energy, warmth and light. She brightened our world. Her laughter, sense of humor and adventurous spirit drew people to her."
From Rockville Center schools, to Cornell and a fast-paced job at Fred Alger Management in WTC One, Janice made many friends with her authentic enthusiasm and conscientiousness. A friend relates a telling anecdote in Janice's NYT Portrait of Grief: "In a letter of condolence to the Ashley family, another friend recalled how Ms. Ashley was their only high school classmate to compliment her unconventional Sweet 16 party, at a Manhattan comedy club. 'She just got things,' Risa Lewak said. 'There was nothing phony about her.'"
Janice loved Cornell for the wonderful, varied education she received and the bucolic surroundings of the Finger Lakes region. A memorial stained-glass panel decorated with allegorical symbols of Janice's life resides in her favorite building at college, Goldwin Smith Hall. Her friends and family have established scholarship funds in her name both at Cornell and at Oceanside high school.
Janice and her mom were truly best friends, and their close relationship is memorialized by Carol Ashley in a moving poem of which the final stanzas read:
"Her love was warm and generous,
as welcome as the sun,
it filled our hearts and souls with joy
. . . too soon, her work was done
My sunbeam’s light shines on through time
and never ending space
from the other side of heaven
into my heart’s embrace"
Many thanks to Carol Ashley and all of Janet Ashley's family and friends for sharing a little bit of her light with the 9/11 Living Memorial.
Click to view past 9/11 Living Memorial Features. If there is a 9/11 Memorial in your area that you would like to add to the 9/11 Living Memorial website, please contact Debbie Westfal at (203) 966-3911 or toll free at (866) 505-3911. Or send her an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|VOICES FOR KIDS Spotlight
Submit Your Writing to VOICES for Kids
We are very pleased to share this essay by Chris Fetchet on the importance of support from family and friends in the grieving process. Chris writes:
“Chris, do you want to play some golf?” I slowly opened my eyes and lazily raised myself upright. Max and Kevin stood over me not knowing what I would be up for. I’ve known these guys since I was six; I need to get some fresh air and have some fun. “Sure” I muttered. “I’ll be down in a sec.” I slipped into a fresh pair of pressed khakis and threw on a polo sweater and was ready to go. I hadn’t been in school or left my house for weeks. I moped around my house all day filled with frustration, confusion, and denial. It was almost as if I were living everyday in a dream; nothing felt real to me..." Click here to read more.
If you or a young person you know has a story related to 9/11 or about the grieving process, please submit it to the VOICES for Kids Comfort Corner section.
Ask The Expert: Talking to Kids About Terrorism
Tragic events like the Virginia Tech shootings and the anniversaries of Columbine and the Oklahoma City bombing can sometimes affect children deeply. Caregivers naturally try to shield their young ones from exposure to frightening or disturbing content; however, it is important to understand how to talk to your children about acts of terrorism or violence if they ask. This week, a question posted in the Caregiver's section asks the expert:
"My 9 year old daughter has recently become very nervous about flying and asking lots of questions about terrorism. How can we help our children cope with the threat of terrorism?"
Click to read the answer tailored to Caregivers. You may have to scroll through the page to find this week's question, but there is excellent advice throughout the page. Links are available if you want to ask your own question. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the VOICES for Kids site, please contact us.
| EVENTS FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
Memorial Foundation Event:
Thursday, May 17, 2007
The Michael C. Rothberg September 11 Memorial Scholarship Dinner and Silent Auction
Time: 7 PM
Location: Sapphire Manor, 164 Massapoag Avenue, Sharon, MA
More information: call 781-278-0291 or visit our website
All proceed to benefit the Michael C. Rothberg Scholarship Fund, which awards a merit-based scholarship and two book awards to deserving students at Sharon, MA High School.
Ground Zero Health Event:
Saturday, April 21st
Addressing the Health Crisis and Human Needs in the Toxic Wake of 9/11
A Symposium at Fordham University Lincoln Law Center Manhattan Campus
Location: Fordham University Lincoln Law Center Manhattan Campus, 113 West 60th Street, NYC
FREE and open to Medical Professionals and to the Public, A one day clearing house of vital and accurate information for those who are sick from 9/11,
for medical professionals who are treating those who are sick from 9/11, and for family members
and friends of those who are ill in the toxic wake of 9/11. Sponsored by
The Lower Manhattan Public Health Project & Unsung Heroes Helping Heroes, Inc.
Click to read the full schedule of events
|WTC Memorial UPDATE
WTC Memorial Foundation Nearing $300 Million Goal
The WTC Memorial Foundation's coffers have swelled $165 million in the six months since NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg took over as Chairman. According to Associated Press coverage, the foundation has received 66 donations of $1 million or more. The Mayor himself is widely known to have made an anonymous donation of $10 million, and American Express is also a $10 million donor.
More than 32,650 people have contributed in total. Shown at left is one of the Foundation's new ads in the "We Needed One Then, We Need One Now" series showing temporary 9/11 memorials.
A vocal opposition movement spearheaded by some 9/11 Family Members is working to force the Memorial Museum to revise its plan for the listing of names at the Memorial. The Save the 9/11 Memorial movement's pressure seems to have had a minimal effect on fundraising, but could still force the Memorial Foundation to accept their plan for the names. VOICES encourages everybody to visit the website, view the side-by-side images, and make your feelings known on this important issue.
Also, the WTC Memorial Foundation has tapped a large PR consortium, Interpublic Group, to help them raise awareness and funds during their upcoming U.S. outreach tour. According to the Foundation's press release: "The Foundation's tour will feature an interactive exhibit that commemorates the events of September 11, 2001 and shows the strides being made in New York's rebuilding effort. The tour will also further increase the country's awareness of the WTC Memorial and Museum, and help raise
funds needed for the project's success."