January 18, 2008

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January 18, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,

My trip to Washington DC this week was very helpful in continuing our advocacy efforts to support the 9/11 Commission recommendations and national preparedness.  Some of my time was focused on the important subject of the transfer of radio spectrum which will ensure all rescue workers, firefighters and police can effectively communicate with each other when responding to an emergency.  
As the 9/11 Commission determined, on September 11th our first responders could not adequately communicate, clearly costing hundreds of lives.  These communications problems occurred in other tragedies – the Oklahoma City bombing, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and post 9/11 Katrina.  The root cause of this problem was the lack of analog bandwidth available for first responder radio communications.  As a result of this key finding, the 9/11 Commission recommended, and Congress mandated, that the broadcasting industry free up radio spectrum by switching from analog to digital bandwidth.  In an effort to support these public safety reforms and maintain the designated deadline, I testified several times before the House and Senate.  VOICES remains committed to support the efforts of those making the conversion as well as to inform our membership that the transition will take place on February 17, 2009. We have included information below about how the transition will affect you.  
In closing, we have several 9/11 Living Memorial workshops in the coming weeks.  This Wednesday, January 23rd we will meet with families in New York City. Thursday, January 31st and Friday, February 1st we will be in Chicago meeting with 9/11 families, rescue workers and survivors.  Please let us know if you, or one of your family members is interested in attending any of these workshops.    
Warm regards,


Mary and the VOICES staff


VOICES programs and events


VOICES is hosting three more 9/11 Living Memorial Workshops in January 2008 and one in early February. This coming Wednesday we will be in midtown Manhattan all day and can meet with you by appointment. 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 mdoherty@voicesofsept11.org. 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: Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm (by appointment)

Location: 228 E. 45th Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10012


New Canaan, CT

Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm (by appointment)

Location: VOICES of September 11th, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840


Chicago, Illinois

Date: Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time: TBD



New York, NY

Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Time: 10:00am to 4:00pm (by appointment)

Location: 228 E. 45th Street, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10012




9/11 living memorial feature


Scott M. Schertzer, "Schertz"


This week's 9/11 Living Memorial feature takes us on a journey through the life of Scott M. Schertzer. Scott, from Edison, New Jersey, was 28 years old and working at Human Resources in Cantor Fitzgerald at One WTC on the 104th Floor on September 11, 2001.


Scott attended Rutgers University. He was a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys and also of the rock group Phish, traveling to many of their concerts around the country and getting to know members of the group. When the group recorded its "Round Room" album in 2002, they dedicated it to Scott. The Dallas Cowboys Football Club also wrote to Scott's parents to extend their condolences.


Scott's 9/11 Living Memorial pages include a newspaper interview with his sister, Lori, who commuted into the city with him that day. She got in line to get some breakfast and Scott continued on to work. It was the last time they saw one another.


Scott is remembered by Lori and his loving parents, Paul and Ellen, and through memorials in his name - the Scott Schertzer Butterfly Garden in Edison, Scott Schertzer Drive in Edison, and a bench in his name in Central Park dedicated to him by his parents and sister. Four scholarships have been established in his memory - one at John P. Stevens High School and the other three at Rutgers University.



The 9/11 Living Memorial digital archive is dedicated to commemorating the lives and stories of September 11, 2001 and the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.





Transitioning to Digital Television

On February 17, 2009, the United States will transition to digital television. Some 19 million households with 44 million non digital television sets will have to take action to keep watching. What do you need to do to see if you are prepared? Visit our website to learn more.


Chertoff Speaks Out about Need for REAL ID

Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff has been speaking out about the new rules that will go into place for tamper-proof identity cards and drivers licenses.


In announcing the final REAL ID rules for driver's licenses, Secretary Chertoff said: "People seeking driver’s licenses must provide to their state Department of Motor Vehicles documents that prove who they are and prove that they are here in this country legally. This is a major step forward in preventing illegal immigrants from getting driver’s licenses. Second, Department of Motor Vehicle offices must verify that the documents they are being presented with are legitimate. And they have to take steps to protect their own operations and their own databases from identity theft and other corrupt activities. Third, licenses issued by states now must meet tamper-proof, specific standards that will make it much harder to counterfeit or alter a secure driver’s license. And finally, states have to work together to assure that individuals are not able to obtain driver’s licenses from multiple states in an improper manner."


Secretary Chertoff said: "We are now over six years from 9/11. We live every day with the problems of false identification. Simply kicking this problem down the road year after year after year for further discussion and further debate and further analysis is a time-tested Washington way of smothering any proposal with process. So I think we’ve given it a fair process. Some people probably think we’ve given it too much time. But I think the time has come to bite the bullet and get the kind of secure identification I am convinced the American public wants to have."


The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the rules and called for REAL ID to be repealed.

Read Secretary Chertoff's statement here.


House Lawmakers Criticize CIA Tape Destruction

The Washington Post reported this week that the CIA's destruction of videotapes of interrogations at secret prisons drew bipartisan criticism from House lawmakers at a closed hearing. After the hearing, which heard testimony from the agency's acting general counsel, Intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.) said he remained convinced that the CIA did not meet its obligation to fully inform congressional overseers about the tapes and their destruction. 9/11 Commission Leaders Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton have accused the CIA of obstructing their investigation, and the Justice Department has begun a separate investigation of the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the tapes.

Read the Washington Post story here.