February 29, 2008

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February 29, 2008


Dear Family and Friends,

As you know this past Tuesday, February 26th was the 15th anniversary of the first attack on the World Trade Center when six individuals were tragically killed, over 1,000 injured, and thousands escaped the buildings.  As I reflect on that day, I have vivid memories of watching in disbelief the news reports of the first attack on the World Trade Center, never realizing that our lives would be intertwined on 9/11.
This Tuesday our staff had the honor of attending a commemorative luncheon hosted by the National September 11 Memorial Museum for the families of those who perished in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  The luncheon was an opportunity for us to meet with the 1993 victims’ families to expand their tributes in the 9/11 Living Memorial site.   We were very touched to spend time with the families, survivors and individuals from the Port Authority, like Paul Bolognese who have been so supportive over the past 15 years.   I want to encourage you to visit the 1993 Living Memorial site to learn more about the lives that were lost that day. The pages include beautiful quilts which were created for each of the families by our friend Betty Nielson from Freedom Quilts.  

In closing, the VOICES staff will be hosting a workshop in Basking Ridge, New Jersey this Thursday and I plan to meet with families while in Anaheim, California for a conference.  Please contact our office if you, or a member of your family are interested in attending either of the events. 


Warm regards,

Mary and the VOICES staff


VOICES Programs and events


VOICES is hosting three 9/11 Living Memorial Workshops in March.  9/11 family members, rescue workers and survivors are invited to participate. The workshops provide information about the 9/11 Living Memorial digital archive and help you learn how to create tribute pages in memory of your loved ones or to document your first-hand personal accounts. Bring photographs, memorial programs, written tributes and other information for us to digitize, as well as quilts, artwork and tangible items that you would like us to photograph for the digital archive. Visit VOICES website for a full list of items we are digitizing.

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.


Anaheim, CA
Date: Wednesday, March 5th
Time: Noon to 2:00pm & 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: Hilton-Anaheim, 777 W. Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 92802


Basking Ridge, NJ
Date: Thursday, March 6, 2008
Time: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, 140 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Wellesley, MA
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
1:00pm to 7:00pm by appointment
Location: Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482 

Pomona, NY
Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Time:10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm by appointment.
Location: Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen's Memorial Drive, Pomona, NY 10970

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.

9/11 Living memorial feature


Remembering the Victims of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing


Monica Rodriguez Smith


This week we remember those who lost their lives 15 years ago in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, an event that cost six people their lies and injured over 1,000. We honor the memory of John DiGiovanni, Robert Kirkpatrick, Stephen Knapp, William Macko, Wilfredo Mercado and Monica Rodriguez Smith. Families of four of the 1993 World Trade Center victims have begun to create Living Memorial tributes to their loved ones.


John DiGiovanni, a dental equipment salesman from Valley Stream, New York, aged 45, had parked his gray Ford Taurus in the garage underneath the building, and may have been visiting a client or attending a trade show. Robert Kirkpatrick, 61, of Suffern, N.Y., a senior maintenance supervisor in the building, had planned to retire in November of 1993. His Living Memorial site contains a tribute from his family. Stephen Knapp, 48, was chief mechanical supervisor for the Port Authority, who lived in Staten Island, N.Y. with his wife and two children. Steven's Living Memorial site also contains a family tribute and a photo of Stephen on the roof of one of the Twin Towers.

Wilfredo Mercado, 37 of Brooklyn was missing for 17 days after the blast. A purchasing agent for the New York Vista Hotel and Windows on the World, he was checking in food deliveries in the basement when the 1,000-pound bomb went off. He left behind his wife Olga and two daughters. William Macko, of Bayonne, New Jersey, a father of four, also worked for the Port Authority. His Living Memorial site contains family photos and loving memories from his children. Monica Rodriguez Smith, 34, of Seaford, Long Island, was seven months pregnant and with her first child in March 1993 with her husband of two years, Edward. That day was to be her last day at work before taking maternity leave.


Stephen Knapp atop one of the Twin Towers




NY Judge May Turn Down Families' Request to Sift Fresh Kills Landfill

NY Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein has indicated that although 9/11 families have "a heart-rending claim", it did not appear they had a constitutional right to force the city to transfer debris that may contain remains from the now-closed Fresh Kills landfill to another location for a proper burial.The judge was speaking at an emotional two-hour hearing, which sprang from the city's request to dismiss a 2005 lawsuit filed by 17 families who claim their loved ones' remains are still at Fresh Kills. Some 1,000 more families have joined the suit. Judge Hellerstein said it would take him a long time to render a decision and suggested the plaintiffs settle for a memorial at Fresh Kills. Read coverage of the story at the Voices website.


Less Than a Year to DTV Transition

The transition to digital television, which will make America safer by freeing up analog bandwith for emergency communications, takes place February 17, 2009. The death of Representative Tom Lantos (D-California) caused the postponement of the the digital-TV-transition hearing in the Senate scheduled to take place on February 14. That hearing, together with one in the House the previous day, were planned to look at the challenges in the light of the short timeline to the switch.


Just before the House Hearing, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) sent a joint letter to President Bush urging the establishment of an inter-agency task force to oversee the transition. They called on the President to use the government’s resources “to help educate and prepare all Americans for this potentially disruptive change in our broadcasting system.” The Chairmen warned, “[i]f the transition is not successful, millions of American who rely solely on over-the-air broadcasts may be left in the dark.” According to a 2005 report, 21 million homes - nearly one in five of all television-equipped households – rely on free, over the air broadcasts for television service. Consumers can learn more about the digital-TV-transition by calling 888-388-2009 or visiting https://www.mydtv2009.gov/.


More Information on the Pope's Visit

Pope Benedict XVI will visit to Ground Zero on April 20 to honor those who died on September 11, 2001 during his first papal visit to the United States. The Holy Father will also visit the White House, address the United Nations and celebrate Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Yankee Stadium. Public access to events is by ticket. Tickets to the events have been allocated to dioceses, so you check with your parish to see if any are available for the various events. All tickets are non-transferable and adult ticket holders will also be required to show government issued photo identification at the entrance to the event, students will be required to show student identification cards. To find out more about New York events, visit the Archdiocese's website. For Washington DC events, please check here.