June 20, 2008
Dear Families and Friends,
Like most Americans, I was saddened by the untimely death of Tim Russert. As I listened to his memorial service yesterday, I was inspired by the consistent theme of his friend’s reflections about Tim’s life – his commitment to his family, friends, faith and our country.
I was fortunate enough to meet Tim in 2004, when I visited the NBC station in Washington, DC with other 9/11 families during an interview with an affiliate station. Although a brief conversation, I was personally touched by him and witnessed the same values his friends and colleagues shared with us over the past week. I remember vividly how his eyes welled up with tears as he asked about the loss of my son Brad and his expression of determination when I spoke of the challenges we faced as advocates for the 9/11 Commission reforms. I recall the pride that engulfed his face as he spoke about his son Luke, who was recently accepted at Boston College.
Although a brief encounter, I was impressed by his sincerity and confident
of his commitment to the American people to ensure that our elected officials worked cooperatively to make our country safer. From that point forward, I became a weekly viewer of Meet the Press, watching in awe as Tim became part of a collective effort to support the 9/11 Commissions recommendations. He kept 9/11 in the public eye, educating his viewers about complicated issues and the grim reality of the long term challenges we faced.
Tim set high standards not only in the field of journalism, but for us all. His legacy lives on in his ability to pull people together despite opposing political views. It was most fitting that during his funeral service our two presidential candidates sat side-by-side and were asked to run a fair race for our common good. His memory will not only live on through the people that knew him well, but also through his weekly viewers and people like me, who will forever be touched by the experience of looking into his eyes, feeling his hand on my shoulder and witnessing firsthand his compassion and commitment to his family, friends, faith and our country.
All of us Voices send our deepest condolences to Tim’s family and friends. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
If you would like to send your condolences or make donations to Tim’s favorite charities visit the NBC website at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25174922/
Mary and the Voices Staff
VOICES Programs and events
9/11 Living Memorial Workshops
The VOICES team is on the road again, with upcoming workshops in New York, northern Connecticut, and Florida. We are planning workshops in a number of locations in New Jersey so watch this newsletter or our website for updated information.
Date: Wednesday, June 25th
Time: 1:00pm to 6:00pm by Appointment
Location: Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross
3310 W. Main Street
Tampa, FL 33607
Date: Monday, July 21st
Time: 1:00pm to 6:00pm by Appointment
Location: Wethersfield Public Library
515 Silas Deane Highway
Wethersfield, CT 06109
9/11 living memorial Feature
Joshua D. Birnbaum
Josh Birnbaum wasn’t exactly your stereotypical assistant bond trader. At night, he became DJ Samsson, a name inspired by his father Sam, and spun trance and techno at clubs and parties around the city. Josh, 24, from Holbrook, New York, got his job at Cantor Fitzgerald in May 2001, just five days after graduating from Columbia University with a degree in economics, one of three of a 75 applicants who were offered the position on the bond trading desk.
Joshua's passion was music. Two years before 9/11, Josh put out a CD of his music called “Breaking Ground.” After his death, he was honored in Remix Magazine and Rolling Stone.
Josh’s best friend was his younger sister Jill. Josh was training for the San Diego Marathon and Jill had promised to fly out with him and wait at the finish line to cheer him on when he crossed. The Spirit of Joshua Award is now presented annually to someone who has overcome great obstacles to get to the San Diego marathon.
Joshua's Living Memorial site contains tributes, thoughts and letters from his many friends. In addition to the Spirit of Joshua Award, he is remembered with a memorial bench on the Long Beach Boardwalk and at the Oceanside 9/11 Memorial.
EVENTS AND INFORMATION FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
9/11 Guantanamo Defendant to Seek Security Clearance
The military attorney for one of the five 9/11 defendants due to go on trial at Guantanamo Bay has announced that he will seek a security clearance for defendant Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, but expects his application will be denied. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer told The Associate Press that this would mean that the defense team will be unable to share classified evidence with him only if the judge allowed it to be discussed in open court.
Senior trial official Air Force Brig. Gen. Tom Hartmann has told The associated Press that he seriously doubted that any of the five defendants would be issued a security clearance, but they would be able to see all the evidence presented to the jury.
Read the AP story here.
Medical Examiner's Office Issues Update on DNA Testing of Remains Recovered at WTC Site.
The Office Of the Chief Medical Examiner has issued a report that shows that there have been 21 new victim identifications since January 2006. The office has also noted 31 previously unseen DNA profiles for which the office does not have matching references.
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner WTC DNA Report
WTC Identification Stats