May 1, 2009

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May, 1, 2009


Dear Families and Friends,


Many families contacted our office this week, in disbelief by the planes flying over New York City.  On a personal note, I received a call from my 28 year old son who was working in New Jersey.  Although he didn't have a view of the plane, his firm reacted swiftly by directing their employees to drop what they were doing and evacuate, no questions asked.  We  received other reports that there was mass confusion in the streets in both New York and New Jersey.  To the other extreme, some corporations were unaware of the situation which brings up other concerns.  We understand that the situation has been handled by both the Mayor's office and President Obama's office.  However, in the post 9/11 environment we would be remiss not to recognize that this event has a potential to provoke an array of reactions and responses that may deserve attention.  Please let us know if we can be of assistance.   


In VOICES tradition of honoring the lives lost on 9/11, we are hosting our second annual Always Remember Benefit.  The event will be held on Monday, June 8th at Pier Sixty in New York City.  We are very excited to have President Clinton as our keynote speaker and we are in the process of confirming some very exciting entertainment, so stayed tuned!   All proceeds will benefit our efforts to create the 9/11 Living Memorial Project, that will commemorate the lives lost and document firsthand accounts of rescue workers and survivors.  If you haven't received an invitation, please contact our office, or register online at www.voicesofsept11.org. We hope you can join us for this very memorable evening! 


This week I attended a 9/11 Living Memorial workshop we hosted in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  It's always a special treat to spend time with the families and learn about their loved ones through the photograhs and stories they share.  Our thanks to our friends at DEVCO for hosting the event….and to all the famllies who attended. 


Enjoy the weekend! 


Warm Regards,

Mary and the Voices Staff


VOICES Programs and events


9/11 Living Memorial Workshop Schedule

VOICES is commemorating each and every life impacted by the September 11th terrorist attacks—including those who were lost, those who survived, and those who came to the rescue—through the 9/11 Living Memorial. We are hoping all those affected will participate. We hold workshops throughout the tri-state area; scheduled workshops are listed below. It is also possible to arrange a workshop in your neighborhood. To learn more, or to register for a workshop, please contact Michelle Doherty at (203) 966-3911 or mdoherty@voicesofsept11.org. You can also visit www.911livingmemorial.org


VOICES, New Canaan

Date: Wednesday, May 13th
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: The office of Voices of September 11th, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840


KBW, New York

Date: Thursday, May 21st for KBW families & employees
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: The office of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, 787 7th Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY


VOICES, New Canaan

Date: Friday, May 29th
Time: 11:00am to 5:00pm by Appointment
Location: The office of Voices of September 11th, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840


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, May 5th : Firefighter Mothers Teleconference Group 10:00am to 11:00am

Tuesday, May 5th : Parents Teleconference Group 3:45pm to 5:00pm

Tuesday, May 5th : Parenting Group 9:00pm to 10:00pm


Community Events

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The 3rd annual “Captain Martin J. Egan, Jr. 5K Memorial Run/Walk”

The 3rd annual “Captain Martin J. Egan, Jr. 5K Memorial Run/Walk” will take place at 10:00 am on May 3, 2009 at the Midland Beach Picnic Area (Father Capodanno Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue, Staten Island, NY). Applications are available at The Staten Island Runner www.sirunning.com. For more information, please call (718) 710-1944. 


In the News


President Signs Legislation Establishing 9/11 as Day of Service
On April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which establishes September 11 as an annually recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance. The bill authorizes the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees federal national service programs, to make grants and provide other assistance to community nonprofits and other groups that want to organize 9/11 service and remembrance activities. To learn more, read the press release issued by MyGoodDeed.org, an advocacy organization that promoted the legislation.


New Director for Scholarship Fund Helping 9/11 Families

Rhianna Quinn Roddy has been appointed executive director of Scholarship America, a national nonprofit scholarship and educational support agency. In that capacity, she will administer the $100 million Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which assists eligible relatives of 9/11 victims with college and higher education expenses. Firefighters, Emergency Medical Service and various law enforcement workers who responded to the attacks also are eligible. Learn more about Ms. Roddy and the Fund at the NY Daily News.


Tree Planted to Honor Beverly Eckert

A tree was planted and dedicated in memory of 9/11 activist and VOICES co-founder Beverly Eckert, who died when Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York on February 12, 2009. The ceremony took place during an Arbor Day celebration at the Jackie Robinson Park of Fame in Stamford, CT, and was attended by more than 50 people. Ms. Eckert was hailed for her many generous and impactful contributions to Stamford and the nation. Learn more at the Stamford Advocate and NBC New York.


Art Therapy for 9/11 First Responders

An art therapy group has been established to help 9/11 rescue and recovery workers deal with the trauma of their experiences. No artistic knowledge necessary. The sessions will take place on Saturdays from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at New York University’s Barney Building, 34 Stuyvesant Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), Room 204, New York, N.Y. For more information, please contact Ailish Coughlan, Licensed Creative Art Therapist at 917.519.4592 or ailishcoughlan@yahoo.com.


NYC’s New Archbishop Recalls 9/11

On April 24, New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan celebrated Mass at St. Peter's Church—the oldest Catholic parish in the state, which served as a staging area for first responders following 9/11. The newly installed archbishop was a comfort to the hundreds of worshippers attending the service, and also paid his respects at the World Trade Center site. Read more at Newsday.


Photo Op for Air Force One Triggers Painful Memories

A low flying plane in Lower Manhattan caused confusion, fear and panicked evacuations as witnesses recalled similar, painful imagery from the World Trade Center attacks. The flyover was authorized by federal officials in order to capture dramatic views of Air Force One for publicity purposes, but the public was not warned in advance. Both New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama were angered by the incident, with Obama vowing “it will not happen again.” Read more at the NY Times and ABC News.


Maloney Issues Statement on 9/11 Health Hearing

On April 22, 2009, Representative Carolyn Maloney testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee in support of Health on H.R. 847, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009. Rep. Maloney said “H.R. 847 helps the sick by proving medical monitoring and treatment to WTC responders and community members who were exposed to the toxins of Ground Zero….The bill also provides compensation for those who suffered economic losses by reopening the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

“The solutions provided in H.R. 847 are neither easy nor inexpensive, but they are part of our country's moral obligation, as the wealthiest nation in the world, to care for those who respond to an act of war. We must take care of the people who took care of us in the days and weeks after 9/11. It is the least we can do as a grateful nation.”

To read Rep. Maloney’s statement, click here.


Disclosing the Truth on Torture
While President Obama has said he is not in favor of establishing a commission to investigate the harsh interrogation techniques utilized under the Bush Administration, his administration is considering the release of more CIA documents regarding the practices. Learn more at the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, others in the Obama Administration and elsewhere are advocating for the impeachment of federal judge Jay Bybee, the head of President Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, who advised that waterboarding was not torture.  Learn more at Politico. The Washington Post reports that as far back as 2002 the US military was advised against applying techniques of “extreme duress.” Click here to read its investigation. To read the views of Governor Thomas Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, on investigating torture allegations, visit NBC New York, which interviewed former Governor Kean on April 23.