AUGUST 3, 2007
DEAR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS,
The signing of the “Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007” into law by President Bush today is a good step forward in protecting Americans from future terrorist attacks. I applaud the President's signature on a bill that takes critical steps towards legislating the outstanding 9/11 Commission recommendations. I am also grateful for the tireless efforts of the 9/11 Commissioners, Congressional offices, the 9/11 families and the Leadership in the House and Senate who made this legislation a priority in the 110th Congress.
As you know, this legislation is an important accomplishment, however much work remains to be done. Now that the bill has been signed, our focus at VOICES will be on ensuring the implementation of the new legislation, as well as improving local and national preparedness. We will continue to work with like-minded people to push for implementation and funding of the 9/11 reforms, so that no family ever again has to suffer the loss we experienced on September 11, 2001.
And of course, our immediate thoughts are turning to the sixth anniversary and to our September 10th “Preserving 9/11” Forum and September 11th Commemorative luncheon to be held at the Marriott Financial Center Hotel. This year’s Forum will mark the official launch of the 9/11 Living Memorial. The program will include workshops, presentations and an exhibition hall featuring exhibits included in the 9/11 Living Memorial. Our staff will be available throughout the day to digitize photographs and personal items which will document the lives and stories of September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 WTC bombing. We hope to see you there.
In this weeks newsletter we are featuring the family tribute pages lovingly created in memory of Andrew Stergiopoulos. Andrew’s mother, Angela began creating his 9/11 Living Memorial pages several months ago and continues to add photographs and other mementos to commemorate his life. On 9/11 Andrew worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and although only 23 years old at the time, he was an accomplished young man who touched many lives. I hope you will take a moment to visit Andrew’s family tribute pages.
| VOICES PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
VOICES "Preserving 9/11" Forum and Exhibits Preliminary Schedule
Invitations to this year's Sixth Anniversary Commemorative Events were mailed to our members today. We are pleased to announce an exciting preliminary schedule of events focused on the 9/11 Living Memorial project.
Click here to download a PDF file of the preliminary schedule
Visit our 2007 Commemorative Events page for regular updates.
9/11 Living Memorial Feature
Family Tribute to Andrew Stergiopoulos
Known to friends and family as “Sterg,” Andrew Stergiopoulos was more than a phenomenal athlete, diligent student, and industrious co-worker. Sterg was the rare person whose successes in life always took a backseat to genuine humility and love for those around him.
At Great Neck North High School in Great Neck, NY, Sterg excelled as captain of the football, ice hockey, and lacrosse teams. He continued to play lacrosse in college at George Washington University. Along the way, he broke school records, won many awards, and emerged as an idol to his teammates and the young, aspiring athletes who watched him play. In the words of one adoring football fan, Sterg was “emblematic of everything I wanted to be,” holding the unofficial title of Great Neck North’s “Golden Boy.” Sterg’s determination, skill, and spirit naturally translated into widespread success in the workforce at eSpeed, Inc., the technology unit of Cantor Fitzgerald. As an example of his unique blend of talent and humility, Sterg helped to develop 20 patents, but never told his mother about this accomplishment.
Sterg was truly an inspiration to those who knew him, and the many tributes on his Living Memorial page are just a small sample of the outpouring of grief at the loss of such a vibrant young man. Michael Pereira perfectly captures Sterg’s spirit when he writes: “Not often in the story of mankind does a man like Andrew arrive on earth. To know him was to know him well – Andrew was incapable of half-measures – and to know him well was to love him. He was a born leader; he excelled at everything he did; and he inspired by his example. This is a man who taught us what it means to be alive, and there falls along with him a whole wing of the palace of our lives.”
To read more about Andrew Stergiopoulos, please visit his 9/11 Living Memorial Family Tribute page. T
o add your loved one's story to the 9/11 Living Memorial, please contact us.
| EVENTS AND INFORMATION FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
Recent Updates on 9/11 Commemorative Ceremony Relocation
PA to Halt Construction, Allow "Visit" to Site from Liberty St.
The Port Authority will suspend construction at the WTC site and allow family members to view the site from Liberty St. on September 11th. The move is an effort to broker a compromise between the City and a group of 9/11 families over the relocation of the September 11th commemorative services. The official commemoration including the reading of the names of victims will still take place in Zuccotti Park, adjacent to the site (left). "We are working closely with the city on appropriate plans for family members to safely visit the site, and we will suspend construction on Sept. 11," Stephen Sigmund, chief spokesman for the Port Authority, is quoted in Newark Star-Ledger Coverage. But he said safety concerns will bar the familiy members from directly accessing "the pit." Some associated with the family group say that the suspension of construction makes the site inherently safe. "There is no safety reason to deny this permit if there's no construction that day," Siegel said, citing safety consultants retained by the family groups. "They're playing games with these families," Siegel is quoted in Newsday coverage.
Family Group Clarifies Position
One of the major players in the family coalition, Put It Above Ground, sent out a statement clarifying its position on the relocation of the official September 11th commemorative services: We have "NEVER" considered boycotting the ceremony at any time. We have "NEVER" requested access to the entire Ground Zero Pit. We have "NEVER" provided a plan that would put attendees in danger. The fact that the Port Authority is suspending construction on 9/11 eliminates safety issues that have been raised to date. All we are asking is access to a limited area (a few hundred square feet) at the base of the ramp where family members will be able to proceed and place flowers." Click to read their full statement. According to the Associated Press, the family coalition may file a first amendment lawsuit to force the city and Port Authority into opening the site.
The World Trade Center Responders Fatality Investigation Program
The events of 9/11 continue to affect individuals and families across the country. In order to improve our understanding of diseases and deaths among WTC workers and volunteers, the World Trade Center (WTC) Responders Fatality Investigation Program needs your help.
The New York State Department of Health is in the process of collecting information on all deaths to responders or volunteers who worked at the WTC disaster site, pile, and surrounding areas, including the barges and landfills, between September 11, 2001 and June 30, 2002. Information is being collected on all deaths that occurred on or after September 12, 2001, regardless of how or why these deaths occurred.
We are seeking information on every WTC responder, including Firefighters, Police, EMS, Contractors, Demolition and Reconstruction workers, Volunteers, Media, and members of the Legislature. We are specifically interested in obtaining the following information: the worker's name, date of birth, and date of death, including the cause of death. The information we collect will be used to improve the medical community's understanding of these deaths... Read more on how to participate in the program by clicking here.
|VOICES Website UPDATES
August 03, 2007: 9/11 Bill Signed by President Bush
Today, President Bush signed into law the “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007”, which carries out the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. After conferees resolved remaining partisan and jurisdiction differences on July 24, the Senate and House passed the final version of the bill at the end of last week. The bill shifts funding to high-risk states, strengthens screening of air and sea cargo, and provides funds to ensure that first responders can communicate with each other in the event of an emergency, among other measures.
President Bush was joined at the bill signing in the Oval Office this morning by Independent Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Ted Stevens of Alaska. Pledging to continue to “work with the Congress to ensure we are doing everything we can do to keep our Nation safe,” the President expressed his pleasure at the passage of the bill. However, he also said that there was work left to be done to complete the implementation of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations. While the administration has expressed some dissatisfaction with provisions of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, its passage into law today is an important step in strengthening the nation’s defense against future terrorist attacks.
VOICES praises signing of 9/11 Commission Act
White House Press Release
Bush signs bill carrying out 9/11 Commission
Bush Signs Homeland Security Bill
August 01,2007 - Family Advocates Statement on Passage of 9/11 Bill
A bill implementing a large number of the outstanding recommendations of the
9/11 Commission has been passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in
the House and Senate. The tally of votes that marked its passage signifies
that Republicans and Democrats alike understand that our country urgently
needs this important legislation, a need underscored by the latest National
Intelligence Estimate... read full statement.
July 30, 2007:
9/11 Bill Sent to President Bush
President Bush is expected to sign the conference report of the 9/11 reforms legislation into law before the Congressional session ends this Friday. The White House has protested some provisions in the bill, particularly a requirement that within the next five years all container ships would be scanned for nuclear devices before they leave a foreign port. The administration says such a scanning system is "neither executable, nor feasible," but has stopped short of threatening a veto. "We are hopeful that the president will sign the legislation and implement the reforms. It takes the first piece of legislation to another level. It is a much more thorough and detailed," VOICES Founding Director Mary Fetchet is quoted in Connecticut Post coverage. Read more in VOICES Legislative Update section.
July 30, 2007: Senate Packs DHS Budget With Border Funding, Bush Threatens Veto Over $3 billion Add-on
Late last week the Senate passed its $40.6 billion version of the 2008 Department of Homeland Security budget, voting 89-4, after adding $3 billion for border security. The money is meant to pay for fencing, sensors and vehicle barriers; 3,000 more Border Patrol agents; 4,000 new detention beds; and 700 additional immigration enforcement personnel. It would reimburse state and local governments for the cost of helping federal agents enforce immigration laws, improve systems to allow employers to check worker eligibility, and require the deportation of people who overstay their visas. The measure also would ensure that federal officials have the space to detain up to 45,000 illegal border crossers at one time. Read more in VOICES Preparedness Updates section.