December 05 , 2008

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December 05, 2008


Dear Families and Friends,

This week’s deadly attacks in Mumbai are a horrific reminder that the threat of terrorism remains high around the world.  The television coverage brought flashbacks of what we lived through in those terrible hours and days after 9/11.  Immediately our thoughts and prayers were with the family and friends that were in search of their loved ones. The devastation and tragic loss of life renewed our commitment at VOICES to do whatever we can to prevent more families from suffering such a loss.
The attacks in Mumbai – and the release of the Congressional report warning of the spread of weapons of mass destruction – are stark illustrations of the fact that terrorists have 21st century weapons at their disposal that can cause devastation on an unprecedented scale.  As the report points out, a collective effort is needed to ensure that the world community acts decisively and with great urgency. It was heartening to see the early announcement by President-elect Obama of his highly qualified National Security team.  VOICES stands ready to be part of the effort by advocating for necessary reforms to ensure our communities are prepared and resilient to respond to an emergency.
Knowing how much the outpouring of support was to our families in the days after 9/11, I have written to the Indian Ambassador to the United States to express our condolences and offer to help.  We hope you will keep the families of the victims and the survivors of the attacks in your thoughts and prayers.  Please send any notes of sympathy to me at mafetchet@voicesofsept11.org and I will be happy to forward them on your behalf.
Warm regards,

Warm Regards,

Mary and the Voices Staff



VOICES Programs and events


9/11 Living Memorial Workshop Schedule

VOICES is putting together its workshop schedule for 2009. If you would like us to come to your neighborhood, please contact us so we can consider including it in our schedule for the coming year. For more information, or to register for the workshops below, contact Michelle Doherty at VOICES of September 11th, (203) 966-3911 or by e-mail to mdoherty@voicesofsept11.org. You can also schedule an individual Living Memorial appointment at our Connecticut office.


KBW, New York
Date: Thursday, January 29th for KBW families
Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY


KBW, New York
Date: Thursday, February 12th for KBW families
Time: 10:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, Fourth Floor, New York, NY


Manhasset, New York
Date: Tuesday, February 17th
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: Manhasset Public Library, 30 Onderdonk Avenue, Manhasset, NY 11030


Teleconference Schedule:

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, December 9nd: Tuesday AM Parents Teleconference Group 11:00am to 12:15pm
Tuesday, December 9nd: Tuesday Parents Teleconference Group 3:45pm to 5:00pm


In the News


President-Elect Obama Announces National Security Team

President-elect Barack Obama made news this week by announcing his national security team.  The make-up of the team clearly demonstrated that the President-elect had heeded the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Presidential transition, with Robert Gates remaining in the key position of Defense Secretary.  At a news conference Monday, Senator Obama announced the appointment of Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, retired Marine Gen. James Jones as White House National Security Adviser, and Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations.  

The President-elect’s choices have been broadly praised, including by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who described the team as “extraordinary”, and said that the new national security team “encourages the hope that America is moving beyond its divisions to its opportunities."  Read Secretary Kissinger’s article in the Washington Post.


The announcement of the national security team has also raised much media analysis of the Department of Homeland Security, notably an article in the Boston Globe that says DHS is in disarray, facing significant management challenges, an urgent requirement for investment in human capital, and other problems. Outgoing Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff has warned that a tough job awaits his successor, Janet Napolitano, with smarter terrorists and increasingly sophisticated weapons. Read more here.


U.S. Cities Learn Lessons from Mumbai Tragedy

Throughout the United States, law enforcement officials are making new efforts to increase security in the wake of the tragic terrorist attacks on hotels and railways in Mumbai, India.

In New York City today, police participated in live training exercises based on the scenarios that occurred in the Mumbai attacks. The training exercises followed a morning briefing for 400 corporate security officers from businesses throughout the city.  Yesterday, the NYPD met with hotel industry representatives to discuss how best to secure the city’s hotels. Last month, even before the Mumbai attacks, leaders of more than 30 Jewish organizations gathered in New York for a tabletop exercise that simulated coordinated attacks on Jewish institutions throughout the nation. In Boston, police have stepped up surveillance citywide and are monitoring hotels more closely.  In Chicago, the 535-room Drake Hotel reviewed its security measures and realigned some security staff. Other major cities are also reviewing what happened in order to learn lessons and increase preparedness in the wake of the attacks.

And in another indication of preparedness, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had already been working to reduce the threat of small craft similar to the small hijacked fishing vessel used by the Mumbai attackers to approach the coastal city.  DHS had released a strategy for small vessel security in April of this year, highlighting the need to increase surveillance and tracking of small watercraft near major coastal installations such as power plants. Read the full report here.


Read more:
International Herald Tribune

USA Today

Washington Technology online


U.K. Offers 9/11 Scholarships

The Disaster Fund of England and Wales together with the British Council have established the U.K. 9/11 Scholarships Fund for children or dependants of 9/11 victims to study at higher or further education institutions in the United Kingdom. If you lost a parent or guardian, or if they were permanently injured and medically retired as a direct result of the events that day, you may be eligible. The scholarships cover funding for full-time undergraduate or Master’s level study (or the equivalent in further education) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Other options for accredited study are possible. For more information, visit The British Council Website.


New Location for WTC Site Family Room as of December 1

The smaller Family Room that has been housed at various locations around the WTC site has been moved by the Port Authority due to construction at the site. The Port Authority has provided a secured area very close to the site at the corner of Carlisle and Washington, just one block away from the current Liberty Street location. The new space opened on December 1 and is available to families 7 days a week from 9:00am until 6:00pm. You will need a valid Medical Examiner identification or your loved one's P or T number to allow you to visit. To read the letter from Diane Horning of the WTC Families For Proper Burial click here.


Report Warns Nuclear or Biological Attack Likely in Next 5 Years
The Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism says an attack utilizing unconventional weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear or biological weapons is likely to occur by 2013 unless urgent preventive actions are taken by the US and its allies. The US is a prime target.


Led by Commission chairman former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and vice-chairman former Senator Jim Talent (R-MO), the independent panel, mandated by Congress in accordance with 9/11 Commission recommendations, has been examining evidence from more than 250 military, political and academic experts for the past 6 months. Their report, released this week, assesses “our nation’s progress in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism,” and provides “a roadmap to greater security with concrete recommendations for improvement,” according to the Commission’s website. Vice President-elect Joe Biden has been briefed on the panel’s contents and recommendations. To visit the Commission’s web site and view the report, click here. To see the press conference held to announce the report’s release, visit C-Span. To learn more, read coverage in the New York Times and the Washington Post.


Easton, CT Family Memorial to Proceed

Plans for a memorial to honor an family of 9/11 victims have been set in motion in Easton, Connecticut. The Hanson family, including Peter (an Easton native), his wife Susan and their three-year-old daughter Christine will be commemorated with a pergola on the lawn of the Easton Public Library. The family was on board United Airways Flight 175. The memorial was designed by architect Mark Halstead. For more information about the Easton Public Library 9/11 Memorial, please visit the Connecticut Post.