November 07, 2008
Dear Families and Friends,
Like most of you, I stayed up late on Tuesday to watch the election results and witness President-elect Barack Obama deliver his historic victory speech. I realized his words echoed the personal journey of many of us who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. Following the tragedy, it was difficult to imagine a road to recovery, let alone envision hope for the future. However, with the support of our family and friends, many individuals emerged in the 9/11 community and joined with like-minded individuals, determined to make a difference. Despite a personal loss, incredible feats were accomplished — supporting the creation of the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 recommendations, ensuring an appropriate memorial and proper burial, promoting national security, preparedness and building safety and creation of the 9/11 Living Memorial to ensure their lives and the memorial foundations created in their memory, that benefit individuals at home and abroad, are documented for future generations.
That spirit of unity that we all experienced after 9/11 led us to realize that every one of us is a vehicle for change. Together, we can propel our country forward, even in the face of daunting adversity, and especially when we surround ourselves with others who share our vision for the future. We learned first hand that we must embrace our responsibilities—to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country—and work collaboratively to support each another.
On Tuesday night, both candidates were inspirational in calling on Americans to work together, much like the days following 9/11 when our elected officials - Democrats and Republicans alike - stood on the stairs of the Capitol building and made a commitment to work together. President-elect Obama inspired millions with his eloquent call for action: “Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other…” He added: “And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.”
Senator McCain, too, called on Americans to unite: “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next President our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”
Just as President-elect Barack Obama intends to hear our voices, we also intend to offer our heartfelt support to this new administration. We will roll up our sleeves with renewed vigor, knowing from deep and profound experience our hard work makes a real difference in national security and international cooperation.
We know you will join us.
Mary and the Voices Staff
VOICES Programs and events
9/11 Living Memorial Workshop Schedule
VOICES is hosting several 9/11 Living Memorial workshops in the coming months. The workshops provide an opportunity for our staff to work with you to create a permanent family tribute to your loved ones and document memorial foundations and other events that celebrate their lives. We also invite rescue workers and survivors to document your personal first-hand accounts. Please bring items for our staff to digitize such as photographs, memorial programs, written tributes and other information, as well as any tangible items such as quilts, artwork and other mementos you would like us to photograph. We also accept copies of audio and video tapes. Visit our website for a list of items to consider when creating your archive.
The 9/11 Living Memorial is a permanent web-based archive commemorating the lives and stories of September 11, 2001. The multi-faceted archive, located online at www.911livingmemorial.org includes photographs, memorial programs, newspaper articles, personal keepsakes and will include audio and video. Since launching the project in September 2006, VOICES has hosted over 60 workshops in nine states. Over 500 comprehensive family tribute sites have been created. This year VOICES set a milestone of creating a page for each of the nearly 3,000 victims, along with an individual guestbook so family and friends can write remembrances. To register for one of the workshops below, contact Michelle Doherty at VOICES of September 11th, (203) 966-3911 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to plan a workshop in your community or to schedule an appointment in our Connecticut office.
Date: Thursday, November 20th
Time: 11am to 5pm by Appointment
Location: Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Avenue, Manhasset, NY 11030
New Brunswick, NJ
Date: Wednesday, December 3rd
Time: 12pm to 5pm by Appointment
Location: New Brunswick Development Corporation, 120 Albany Street, Tower 1, Seventh Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
KBW, New York
Date: Wednesday, December 10th for KBW families
Time: 10am to 5pm by Appointment
Location: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY
Voices of September 11th offers teleconference groups that are facilitated by our mental health professionals. The teleconference groups provide an opportunity for those impacted by 9/11 to talk with others that share their same experience. Please contact our office at (203) 966-3911 if you are interested in participating.
Tuesday, November 11th: Parents AM Group 11:00am to 12:00pm
Tuesday, November 11th: Parents Group 3:45pm to 5:00pm
Tuesday, November 11th: Parenting Group 9:00pm to 10:00pm
events and INFORMATION FOR THE 9/11 COMMUNITY
| Sunday November 23rd, 2008
|Run for Johanna
|Run for Johanna will be entering its fourth year-expanded and improved! This year the group is growing! Fifteen fearless explorers will be running this year in both New York (11/2) and Philadelphia (11/23) to honor Johanna's life.
On this seventh anniversary of September 11th tragedy, we are asking that you help us to honor Johanna's memory at this year's New York and Philadelphia Marathons by making a special tax-deductible donation to St. Malachy Elementary School, a school that serves a diverse population of low-income, North Philadelphia students.
Mail donation to Dan Pickens, 8217 Ardmore Avenue, Wyndmoor, PA 19038
For more information contact: email@example.com or call 215-233-2757
If you would like to include your upcoming event in our calendar, please forward the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
VOICES Board Member Seeks Stories for Book Project
VOICES Board member, Bonnie McEneaney is still seeking stories for her about new book project Messages, about people’s premonitions and positive spiritual experiences surrounding and after 9/11. Bonnie is also including some non-9/11 stories. Bonnie would like to hear from any of you have had experiences of this nature that can not be readily explained and would be interested in being included in the book. You can e-mail her at: MessagesBookProject@gmail.com. She can also be reached @ 203-912-1891. She will be contributing to the Voices of September 11 Living Memorial project from Messages’ book proceeds.
In the News
Obama Transition Plans Begin
President–elect Barack Obama is providing a guide to the Presidential transition at a website called change.gov, the Office of the President-Elect. The site provides information on the transition and on President–elect Obama’s agenda. The website will provide news, events and announcements so that users can follow the setting up of the Obama Administration, adding that the transition process will offer opportunities to participate in redefining our government.
The site also shares the President–Elect’s plans for protecting our homeland, highlighting the importance of understanding new kinds of security threats and developing effective strategies for addressing them.
The Government Accountability Office has identified protecting the homeland as one of the most urgent issues the new administration, as is the issue of effective transition to digital TV, which is due to take place in 2009, freeing up use of the analog spectrum for first responders, which was an issue on 9/11. Visit the GAO’s transition site to learn more.
For those who may have missed President–elect Obama’s and Senator McCain’s speeches on Tuesday, we have provided links below.
Alleged Bin Laden Media Aide Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
The 39-year old Yemeni man convicted of terrorism-related offences by the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay earlier this week has been sentenced to life in prison. Ali Hamza Ahmad al-Bahlul, alleged media secretary to Osama Bin Laden, had been found guilty of conspiracy, solicitation to murder and terrorist acts, and providing material support for terrorism by a tribunal of nine Navy captains and colonels from the Army, Air Force and Marines.
The Department of Defense alleges that al-Bahlul served as al Qaeda's chief propagandist and media committee chief, producing a video called The Destruction of the American Destroyer USS COLE, and that al Qaeda used this video to recruit new terrorist members and to inspire others to fight in the jihad against the United States. Gary Swenchonis, Sr., whose son Gary Jr. (26) was a Navy petty officer who died in the bombing, gave evidence at the tribunal about seeing the video on the Internet. Al-Bahlul did not offer a defense at the trial but the Miami Herald reports that he was defiant after the sentencing, noting that radical Islam’s war with the West would persist beyond President Bush’s term in office. Read the Miami Herald story.
Freedom Tower Concrete Testing Co. Indicted
The company in charge of testing concrete strengths for various New York City construction sites – including the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero and Yankee Stadium - has been indicted on charges of enterprise corruption, or racketeering.The charges were filed last week against Testwell Laboratories, its president and other company officials. Manhattan prosecutors have been investigating charges that Testwell falsified test results and also billed companies for tests it never did, the Associated Press reported. However, officials said that material used at the Freedom Tower and Yankee Stadium had passed strength tests.The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey first reported inconsistencies in some test results back in 2006. Top officials at the company deny any wrongdoing, stated Attorney Martin Adelman. A trial date has not yet been set. Read more.
Airport Security Recommendations Classified
A report about whether security checkpoint screeners at U.S. airports may be getting tipped off in advance about tests by undercover agents is being kept secret by the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has criticized the decision to classify the information, saying there is no feasible reason to keep it secret. He says the report omits findings and recommended improvements.
The Transportation Security Administration continually runs undercover tests throughout airports to check for steadfastness in security. Agents with guns, knives, and fake bombs regularly plant themselves at checkpoints to ensure that they cannot sneak the potentially dangerous objects through. Read the full story in USA Today.