February 1, 2008

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February 1, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,


Today I am in snowy yet lovely Chicago, which brings back fond memories of visiting my grandparents as a child. Yesterday we held a 9/11 Living Memorial workshop for family members who braved the snowstorm to learn more about the project. It was an honor to meet them and hear their very touching stories of those they lost. Earlier in the week we offered individual appointments at our office in New Canaan, CT and we continue to criss-cross around the country to meet with families, rescue workers and survivors.

As we begin the month of February we are focused on informing our members about the federally mandated conversion to digital television (DTV) which will occur February, 2009. A new survey (see below) shows Americans still don’t realize that the conversion was a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission as a public safety measure to improve communication among first responders. Over the next year we will be reminding you of what steps are needed for a smooth transition. 


In closing, the loss of Mario Canzoneri continues to ripple throughout the 9/11 community. Mario’s kindness and generosity touched many of us personally through his work with his four therapy dogs, the Smile Retrievers. We've received several notes of condolence that we will forward to Mario's wife, Karen, as well as donations to VOICES in his memory. I know how much the support of the 9/11 community means to Karen and the Canzoneri family. Our thoughts and prayers continue for their family.  

Warm regards,


Mary and the VOICES staff


VOICES programs and events


VOICES is hosting four 9/11 Living Memorial Workshops in February, including one for families of victims of the 1993 WTC bombing. This Wednesday, we will be in midtown Manhattan and can meet with you by appointment.  9/11 family members, rescue workers and survivors are invited to participate. The workshops provide 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 in advance is required. For more information or to register for one of 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 are organizing workshops around the country over the coming year. Please contact us if you would like us to host a workshop in your area.


New York, NY

Date: Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2008

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

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


Durham, NC

Date: Thursday, February 14, 2008

Time: TBD

Location: TBD


New Canaan, CT

Date: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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

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


New York, NY (private, for families of victims of 1993 World Trade Center bombing)

Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2008


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.


IN MEMORY: Mario Canzoneri

Remembering the Man Behind the Smile Retrievers


Mario Canzoneri was a great friend to the September 11th community. The 68-year-old Staten Island, NY resident died on January 19, 2008, following heart surgery several days earlier. Mario, his wife Karen and their golden retrievers were an important component of VOICES’ annual September 10th and 11th events.

The Canzoneris shared a great gift – the healing art of their Red Cross-registered therapy dogs. Their dogs Jake, Jessie, Mattie and Macie are known as the Smile Retrievers, because that’s what they are able to do. On September 12, 2001, Mario began going through New York City, searching for ways that his therapy dogs could help the families touched by the World Trade Center disaster. Since then, Mario and Karen ministered to the 9/11 community selflessly and without remuneration. They also traveled to Oklahoma City, to the TAPS program in Washington, D.C., to the campus of Virginia Tech and to other places where people were in pain from brutal losses.

The work of the Smile Retrievers has been documented in The New York Times and many other publications. Mario never let the publicity go to his head. "He was a kind and unassuming man. He wisely understood how to stand back and let these wonderful therapy dogs work their healing ways," said Mary Fetchet, VOICES Founding Director.

When the Canzoneris acquired a new dog, they named him Mattie after Matthew Douglas Horning, who worked at the World Trade Center and died on 9/11. “They retrieve our smiles that have been lost and I think Smile Retrievers is a perfect name for what they did,” said Diane Horning, Matthew’s mother.

Diane first met the Canzoneris and their dogs after a memorial ceremony in Manhattan in October 2001. It was Diane’s first trip to the city since 9/11. Jake sought her out, pulling on his lead to reach her and pressing against her leg until she looked down. Diane sat on the pavement with Jake and told him about her son Matthew and cried. “He sensed my distress and came to me; Karen followed him,” she said. Diane and her husband Kurt became good friends with the Canzoneris. Each Mother’s Day, the Canzoneris would visit the Hornings. Mattie once arrived with a bouquet of flowers in his mouth.

Mario was a member of the Garden State Golden Retriever Club and the Staten Island Dog Companion Club. He enjoyed attending dog agility trials on weekends with Karen. He was the owner and operator of General Sewer Service, a company he founded in 1973.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were devastating to Mario, Diane said. “It hit him so hard – he needed to have a way to help. He really loved his country. He was a very proud veteran. When he saw his own country and his own city attacked, he had to find a way to be of service.” For Diane, Kurt and others in the September 11th community, Mario’s contributions will continue to be felt. “All I can do is be grateful,” said Diane. “It's a beautiful legacy.”


If you would like to share your own memories of Mario, please visit our Guestbook.





Americans Are Unaware That Public Safety and DTV Transition Go Hand in Hand

A new survey shows that Americans are more aware of the transition to digital television (DTV). But none of those surveyed were aware of one key reason the federal government has mandated the change – public safety. After February 17, 2009, all TV stations must stop analog broadcasts and begin exclusively broadcasting in digital format as a public safety measure to free up the analog spectrum for emergency communications. This additional bandwidth will improve emergency communications dramatically; for example, police, fire and emergency rescue teams will be able to transmit messages through concrete and steel high-rises without difficulty.


Yet 77% of consumers who are aware of the DTV transition don't know why the government has mandated it, said John Lawson, president of the Association of Public Television Stations, which commissioned CENTRIS to conduct the survey in August and November 2007. No one in the sample of 1,329 respondents cited public safety as one of the significant reasons for the transition. “It appears that the government’s positive message regarding the reasons for the transition has fallen on deaf ears,” Lawson said.
VOICES remains committed to supporting the efforts of those making the DTV conversion as well as to informing our membership that the transition will take place on February 17, 2009. Visit our website to learn more about the DTV conversion.


Pope Benedict to Visit Ground Zero April 20

The Catholic News Agency has just released the full itinerary for Pope Benedict XVI's first papal visit to the United States, which includes a visit to Ground Zero and a mass for 60,000 people at Yankee Stadium.

CNA reports that on the morning of Sunday, April 20 the Pope will visit Ground Zero at 9:30am before celebrating Mass in Yankee Stadium at 2:30pm. The Pope will also visit with the President, meet with 350 bishops from around the U.S., and address the United Nations. Read the Pope's full itinerary here.