April 18, 2008
Dear Families and Friends,
As I finalize this letter, Pope Benedict XVI is in New York City speaking to the General Assembly at the United Nations. On Sunday the Pope will visit Ground Zero to pray and bless the site. His historic pilgrimage reinforces the sacredness of the site where so many of our loved ones perished. The Pope’s visit also coincides with the anniversaries of the Virginia Tech and Oklahoma City tragedies. Our wish is that his presence will be a symbol of hope and peace to people of all faiths.
The archdiocese was faced with the challenge of selecting a small number of individuals to personally join the Pope during his visit to Ground Zero. Over 1,100 individuals submitted their names to the archdiocese and twenty-four applicants were selected by lottery. Sixteen 9/11 family members, four responders and four survivors will accompany the Pope. It should be noted that the Pope’s visit to Ground Zero will be televised.
Finally, this week marks the beginning of Passover, a wonderful holiday rich in meaning and tradition as families and friends come together. To those celebrating the holiday, we offer Shalom for a happy Passover!
Mary and the Voices Staff
VOICES Programs and events
Harlem Gospel Choir to Perform at VOICES Always Remember Fundraising Gala
Plans for the VOICES fundraising gala at the Greenwich Country Club in CT on May 29, 2008 are moving forward! The Harlem Gospel Choir will provide the entertainment for a night of remembrance, renewal, and hope. The world-renowned choir is the most famous gospel choir in America, and has shared its message of love and inspiration with thousands of people from various nations and churches. With the mission of making the world a more loving and peaceful place, the choir will provide an uplifting and inspiring atmosphere to what promises to be a memorable evening.
NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams will be the Master of Ceremonies for the event, which will include comments from ESPN Host and Commentator Chris Berman and Alice Greenwald, Director of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. Other honored guests include 9/11 Commission Co-Chair Governor Thomas Kean and former Steelers quarterback Terry Hanratty.
VOICES Launches New Support Group, Evaluates Existing Groups
VOICES is launching an additional parents teleconference support group at the end of April. The group will meet every other Tuesday at 11:00 AM EST and will be facilitated by Judy Stotz, LPC. If you or someone you know is having a difficult time following the loss of a child on September 11, 2001 or would simply like to connect with others who experienced this loss please contact Michelle Doherty at 866-505-3911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOICES is sending existing teleconference support group members an evaluation form/testimonial request in the mail. These questionnaires are important in assessing our current services and enabling us to plan for the future. We value your feedback, so please take the time to fill out the form and return it by May 1st in the envelope provided. Many thanks in advance for your input!
Living Memorial Workshops in Baldwin, NY
VOICES is hosting 9/11 Living Memorial Workshops in Baldwin, NY, in May 2008. 9/11 family members, rescue workers and survivors are invited to participate. The 9/11 Living Memorial is dedicated to commemorating the lives and stories of September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The workshop provides an opportunity to learn more about the 9/11 Living Memorial digital archive and how to create tribute pages in memory of your loved ones or to document your first-hand personal accounts.
Please bring items for our staff to digitize such as photographs, memorial programs, written tributes, and other information. We encourage you to bring quilts, artwork and tangible items that you would like us to photograph for the digital archive. Registration is required. For further information or to register for the workshops below, contact Michelle Doherty at VOICES of September 11th, (203) 966-3911 or toll free (866) 505-3911, or by e-mail to email@example.com. We will be holding workshops around the country over the coming year. Please contact our office if you would like us to host a workshop in your area.
New York, NY
Date: Thursday, May 8, 2008
Time: 1:00 pm to 6:00pm (by appointment)
Location: 9/11 Forward, 2277 Grand Avenue, Baldwin, NY 11510
EVENTS AND INFORMATION FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
Iranian President Calls 9/11 a Suspect Event
A US State Department spokesman said he was "speechless" about the statement Wednesday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ajmadinejad in which he cast doubt that 9/11 ever happened.
President Ajmadinejad, speaking in the holy city of Qom, said that four or five years ago a suspect event took place in New York. "A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed, whose names were never published." He did not mention the hijackers or the fact that planes flew into the towers.
Read more here.
Remains of More 9/11 Victims Identified
New York City has identified the remains of four more 9/11 victims. The remains of one of the victims were found beneath a road that was built to carry construction vehicles to and from the World Trade Center site, which has become known as "Haul Road". He was identified as Ronald Keith Milstein, of Queens, New York, who was 54 on 9/11.
The remains of Alejandro Castano, who was 35 and was from Englewood, New Jersey, were found in the Liberty Street area, according to the Medical Examiner's office. His family told The Record newspaper that he was in the area that day to deliver office supplies to a firm in the south tower.
The names of of a 52 year old woman whose remains were found in the former Deutsche Bank building, of a 59 year old man found on Liberty Street, have not been released by the families. The Associated Press Reports that the remains of more than 40 per cent of the 2,749 people killed at the site have yet to be identified, and that the city has been using updated technology to try to re-extract DNA to make new identifications.
Read more in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
California Representative Under Fire for Calling 9/11 "Simply" a Plane Crash
San Diego GOP Congressman Darrell Issa has provoked a storm of controversy by categorizing the events of 9/11 as "simply" a plane crash. Rep. Issa was speaking at a hearing convened by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, who is pushing for a re-opening of the 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund to aid responders who are ill as a result of the attacks. Rep. Issa questioned why New York City needed to come to the federal government for dollars when this was a state issue.But after a storm of controversy since Tuesday, Rep. Issa said that while he continued to have questions about the appropriate way to determine federal and local responsibility to victims, he wanted to make it clear that he strongly supported help for those who suffered physical injury as a result of an attack on America, including support from Congress and the federal government. Read coverage of the story here.