July 18, 2008
Dear Families and Friends,
This week I’d like to draw your attention to a serious topic outlined in an editorial in the New York Times, as well as an Op-Ed: the transition that will take place in 2009 from President Bush to his successor. The editorial points out that with two wars under way, this transition will be “riskier than any in recent memory” and calls on candidates to think about how they will handle the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and an orderly withdrawal from Iraq.
The Op-Ed, by former 9/11 Commission members Jamie Gorelick and Slade Gorton, points out that “the deeply flawed presidential transition of 2000 and 2001 created a dangerous period of vulnerability.” The Op-Ed reiterates the 9/11 Commission’s concern that terrorists could take advantage of our weakness during transitions, just as Al-Qaeda did when it attacked Madrid just before Spain’s 2004 elections. It says our presidential transition process needs to adjust to the threats the United States faces, and that improving the process will strengthen our ability to respond to these threats.
Voices of September 11th is calling on President Bush and the candidates to work together to protect Americans by ensuring a smooth transition. That process must begin right now if our future President is to take office with a national security cabinet in place. We also urge both candidates to learn from our tragic history: to heed the 9/11 Commission’s concerns and place national security squarely at the forefront of their agenda.
In closing, I urge you, the Voices membership, to convey your concerns about the safety of our nation to elected officials at all levels of government, in order to protect all Americans and to ensure that other families do not have to suffer the loss that we have suffered.
Mary and the Voices Staff
VOICES Programs and events
This Week’s Teleconference Schedule
VOICES social workers facilitate weekly teleconference groups for the 9/11 community. Below is a list of this weeks schedule.
Monday, 7/21: Witness/Survivor Group 4:00PM to 5:15PM
Tuesday, 7/22: Parents Group 3:45PM to 5:00PM
9/11 Living Memorial Workshops
The VOICES team is on the road again, with upcoming workshops in Connecticut and New York. 9/11 families, rescue workers and survivors are encouraged to attend the 9/11 Living Memorial workshops. Reservations can be made by contacting Michelle Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (203) 966-3911. In addition to workshops, individual appointments can be scheduled at our New Canaan, CT office. For more information on how to participate in the 9/11 Living Memorial project, contact our office or visit www.911livingmemorial.org.
Date: Monday, July 21st
Time: 11:00am to Noon - 9/11 Living Memorial presentation
Noon to 6:00pm by Appointment
Location: Wethersfield Public Library
515 Silas Deane Highway
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Mill Neck, NY
Date: Monday, July 28th
Time: 2:00pm to 6:00pm - Private
9/11 living memorial Feature
9/11 Flight Crew Memorial Dedicated in Grapevine, Texas
This week’s Living Memorial feature is the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial in Grapevine, Texas, which was dedicated on July 4th, 2008 with more than a thousand people in attendance. The 18-foot-high bronze memorial, placed under the flight path to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, pays tribute to the flight crews who died on 9/11 and those who continue to fly, representing their valor, dedication and commitment.
The memorial was a gift to the city of Fort Worth by the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial Foundation, which is a non-profit organization founded by American Airlines flight attendant Valerie Thompson, who, with her husband Dean, raised the money for the memorial through a grassroots campaign. The Foundation notes that the memorial is important to the history of aviation, honoring those who continue the quest for excellence in the skies every day.
Each figure on the Memorial is one-and-one-half life sizes and has significant meaning relative to the events of 9/11, the character of those lost, and the future of air travel. The two eagles in flight represent American and United Airlines. The Captain has one hand over the globe to indicate how the airline industry covers the world and to exemplify that his responsibility is the safety of travelers everywhere. His right hand is a symbol of his support for his fellow crewmembers. Seated next to the captain on the right with an emergency manual, the co-pilot’s outreached hand points to the western horizon, the final intended destination for all four flights. The female Flight Attendant stands in a protective position indicative of her role as a safety professional. The male Flight Attendant stands draping a blanket around the small child, who represents the public. His duties show a commitment to passenger care and service.
Please visit the Flight Crew Memorial page.
In the News
Judge Rules on Fresh Kills Case to Reclaim 9/11 Victims’ Remains
U. S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected the request of some 9/11 family members who wanted to reclaim the remains of those who perished at the WTC from the Fresh Kills landfill and create a cemetery for them on Staten Island. Judge Hellerstein stated that not every wrong can be addressed through the courts. He further stated that "The grave harm suffered by the plaintiffs in this case is undeniable. But the jurisdiction of a court is limited”. Click Here to read the full article.
NY Times Editorial and Op-Ed on Presidential Transition
An editorial in the New York Times has called for serious public discussion by the two Presidential candidates about how they plan to meet their commitments on the Iraq war and ensure that it does not spin even further out of control. The editorial points out that the transition from President Bush to his successor will be “riskier than any in recent memory” and calls on the candidates to begin explaining in detail how they will handle the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Click here to read the full New York Times editorial. An Op-Ed by two former 9/11 Commission Members points to our nation’s vulnerability to terrorist attack at the time of transition. Click here to read the Op-Ed.
9/11 Charity Barred from Fundraising
The state of New Jersey is barring the 9/11 Rescue Workers Foundation from fundraising for sick ground zero workers. The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs is barring the organization’s founder, Fred Parisi, from serving as a board member or a worker for any New Jersey charity, and will review the organization’s financial records. Read more here.
Daily News Editorial on WTC Memorial
An editorial in New York’s Daily News has called for the memorial at the World Trade Center site to be finished on time. Read more here.
Guantanamo Trials to Go Ahead
A US Judge has ruled that the first war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo can go ahead on Monday, dismissing a request from a lawyer for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s former driver, to postpone his trial. Hamdan had hoped to delay the trial based on last month’s Supreme Court ruling, which said that Guantanamo inmates can challenge their detention in federal court. Read more here.
Liquid Bombers Plead Guilty in London
Three of the men plotting to use smuggle home-made liquid explosives on to transatlantic flights have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause explosions at a London court. Read more:
Spain’s Supreme Court Overturns Guilty Verdicts on Madrid Bombers
Four of the 21 people convicted of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people have had their convictions quashed in Spain’s Supreme Court. Read more here.