Again this week there was news that additional human remains were found at the WTC site. We understand that these recent developments are very upsetting to families and friends of those who died on September 11th. In response to recent calls from family members we are offering a teleconference group on Wednesday, November 1st at 1:00 pm. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for families to ask questions and share their concerns.
In response to this news a rally has been scheduled in New York City this Thursday, November 2nd at 12:30 pm at the World Trade Center site, adjacent to the PATH entrance on Church St. across from Fulton St. The rally is intended to support family members requests that JPAC or another reputable scientific search team is hired to thoroughly search the site for other human remains. Information about both events are included below. We have also included several articles and a link to our VOICES FORUM. We would like to hear your viewpoint - how has the city handled the continuing recovery efforts at Ground Zero?
Though the recent discoveries remind us of the tragic deaths of our loved ones. It is also important to remember their lives and the inspirational stories that live on as part of the 9/11 Living Memorial. This week we would like to share the very moving story of Abe Zelmanowitz. I'm sure you'll be as touched as we are by Abe's strength and courage. We encourage you to visit the 9/11 Living Memorial at www.911livingmemorial.org. Please contact our office if you would like to create a page in memory of your loved one, share your story or promote a memorial from your community. As always, feel free to contact our office if we can be of any assistance.
VOICES has scheduled special teleconference support groups for in response to the discovery of remains on the periphery of the WTC site. We know this issue is especially sensitive for the families and that you may have questions or feelings you would like to discuss. The group will be facilitated by Judy Stotz, a VOICES Mental Health Professional. All VOICES groups are free of charge, but advance registration is requested by calling the VOICES office at (203) 966-3911 or toll free (866) 505-3911.
The teleconference group will take place Wednesday, November 1st from 1pm to 2pm.
Question of the Week: How has the City handled the continuing recovery of remains at Ground Zero?
Click here to let your voice be heard on our forum.
A report on the discovery of new human remains on the underground periphery of the WTC site is due today to Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler, the City’s point man on recovery. To date over 200 new remains fragments and a significant number of personal items have been recovered from subterranean manholes and service tunnels running along West St. on the western edge of the site. Because the fragments have been underground and protected from the elements, officials believe many will yield usable DNA for identification. The report to Mayor Bloomberg from the city agencies responsible for the site—the Department of Design and Construction, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center and the Department of Environmental Protection—will probably recommend extending the search to Liberty St. and Cedar St. along the site’s southern edge, and Washington St., which extends north from the northern edge. The City is also likely to search the roof and other areas of Fiterman Hall, north of the site, which was damaged by the collapse of 7 WTC. Over 750 bone fragments have been discovered over the past six months in a search of the roof of the Deutsche Bank Building on Liberty St.
City officials are adamant that the WTC site itself has been cleared of remains, and that construction on the PATH terminal and foundation work for the new towers planned for the site will continue. Some 9/11 Family groups have called for a moratorium on construction until a more thorough search of the site is completed. Some have also called for Joint P.O.W.-M.I.A. Accounting Command—the US military’s unit that searches for the remains of missing soldiers—to be called in to run the search. City officials claim that their procedures are adequate, but the disturbing discoveries over the past weeks indicate a rushed recovery job in the aftermath of 9/11. The events have clearly reopened old wounds for some Family Members. According to news reports, of the 2,749 people killed at Ground Zero on 9/11, 1,151 have not been officially identified by the discovery of remains. That number is likely to grow smaller as the new remains are analyzed.
There were many accusations—and much hand wringing this week over the discovery of new remains near the WTC site.
ON THE RECORD examines what city officials, 9/11 Family Members, and other stakeholders have said in the past week:
"Their [the City’s] actions say remains are not a priority, they're secondary to the rebuilding, this is bringing up all the gnawing, gut-wrenching stuff inside us again.''
-- Charles Wolf, who lost his wife on 9/11 and has never received any of her identified remains. Quoted in CBS Radio’s “Bloomberg: WTC Construction Won't Stop,” October 25.
Click here to hear audio of Bloomberg’s press conference where he insists that construction will go forward.
"There came a point in time when they said, 'We gotta try to wrap this up,' and they tried to expedite it as much as possible, and they jumped the gun, and now you have all of these families hurt and they're finding all these body parts," -- Lt. John McArdle, police commander at ground zero, who says his protest over a rushed recovery job was rebuffed by city officials. Quoted the Associated Press’ “Mayor admits first WTC cleanup was fast,” October 25.
"This was a massive clean-up done -- a heroic job, I think is a fair way to phrase it -- by people who really dedicated themselves. Firefighters who had lost sons and brothers, construction workers who worked in difficult conditions where they had lots of heavy machinery and there was a lot of pressure to do things quickly, and I think on balance, they did a magnificent job." -- Mayor Mike Bloomberg, quoted in NY Newsday’s “Officials: WTC body parts search was rushed,” October 24.
"The families really wanted to get any remains back as quickly as possible. If you think about a family member, they don't know whether their loved one will be found, and we try to work as expeditiously as possible," -- Mayor Bloomberg, quoted in NY Newsday’s “Hurry was for 9/11 families, Bloomberg says of cleanup,” October 25.
"Why don't they do the right thing and have professionals come in there, do what they have to do to make sure there are no more remains so that we can honor the dead and bury them instead of cementing over them? It's not too late to do the right thing, and you know what, it's not too late to have accountability either." -- Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband Richard on 9/11. Like many Family advocates, Gabrielle wants JPAC called in to conduct a new search. Quoted in NY Newsday’s “WTC Search Could Expand,” October 27.
"We're all wondering again if we're going to get that call. Obviously I want to know if they find something [i.e. identify remains], but on the other hand it just opens it all back up again." -- Lynn Castrianno, whose brother, Leonard, died on 9/11. Quoted in the Associated Press’ “ Ground Zero Bones Could Yield DNA Clues,” October 26.
“Despite the considerable, sincere, and often excellent efforts of those involved to locate and identify all human remains in Lower Manhattan, particularly by city employees of the FDNY and OEM, more resources and expertise are needed to complete this essential task. We urge you to echo their calls for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) or other appropriate agencies to assist in the investigation. As we continue to recover from this national tragedy, returning identified remains to families who have suffered this horrific loss is our moral obligation.” Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer (both D-NY) in a letter calling on Mayor Bloomberg to bring in JPAC, October 20.
Events and Information for 9/11 Community
Monday October 30, 2006
PUBLIC MEETING: Fiterman Hall: Remediation and Deconstruction Project
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street, Richard Harris Terrace
Thursday, November 2, 2006
Proper Recovery/Proper Burial Rally at Ground Zero
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: At the World Trade Center site, adjacent to the PATH entrance on Church St. across from Fulton St.
Rally with WTC families to demand proper recovery/proper burial of the September 11th dead. We have all been stunned by the news of so many new discoveries at the WTC site. We have made very reasonable requests of the Mayor to enlist the help of JPAC or other reputable scientific search team in finding the bodies of the September 11th dead. We are not demanding a work stoppage. We are not insulting the valiant efforts of the brave rescue and recovery workers who searched the pile. Our criticism is focused on the empty suits who rushed the job before it was complete. We are asking that experts assess what can and cannot be done, simultaneously with a full search for the bodies of the victims. This request makes sense because:
1. It is fiscally responsible since it would not cost New York ANYTHING.
2. It would help the community and local businesses that should not be asked to endure any more accidental, grizzly discoveries.
3. A one-time, expert-search would end the stop-and-start history of redevelopment at Ground Zero.
4. For the families, it would end the torturous accidental discovery of our dead. Outside expert assistance makes sense all around for families, rescue and recovery workers, construction workers, the City, the residents and the local businesses.
For those who haven’t participated yet in Phase II, but did participate in Phase I, please log onto the study website at www.9-11survey.org . If you don’t remember your password and PIN code you can request them online in www.9-11survey.org. If you have questions regarding the study please address them to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Yuval Neria from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org. For help with your password or PIN code you may also contact Scott Noonan at email@example.com.
Saturday, November 4, 2006
Swim For The Future
Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Asphalt Green 555 E. 90th Street New York, NY 10128
Swim for the Future honors the lives of two Asphalt Green Masters Swimmers, Andrew Fisher and Doug Irgang, who tragically lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Proceeds from the Swim for the Future Benefit support their memorial fund, which provides financial support to young, dedicated swimmers who have a limited financial capacity to pursue their dreams. By supporting Swim for the Future, you are giving these dedicated, young swimmers the chance to pursue their dreams. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the many powerful stories that arose from the tragedy of 9/11, that of Abe Zelmanowitz is especially touching. Though Abe did not have a family of his own, he was a beloved uncle and brother, and a friend of rare devotion. VOICES e-Newsletter is proud to share a section from Abe's family biography with all of you: "[One of Abe's close friends was] Ed Beyea with whom Abe worked for the twelve years that he
was employed by Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Ed was a quadriplegic ever since
sustaining a devastating injury in a diving incident when he was 21 years old... On that fateful, dreadful day, after the first plane crashed into the North
Tower, when others were fleeing the building, Abe chose to remain with Ed. Ed’s aide, Irma Fuller, had been on a higher floor and was coughing badly. Abe told Irma that he would stay with Ed and that she should leave and send a rescue team to help carry Ed down the stairs. We subsequently learned from Mike Burke, that his brother, Captain William Burke of the New York City Fire Department, was with them at the end. Tragically, they all perished."
As the biography so eloquently continues: "Countless people from all over the country and all over the world have contacted
the family, stating how moved and inspired they were to learn of Abe’s truly heroic, compassionate act, a beacon of hope for all mankind at the time of the commission of such unspeakable evil." Click here to visit Abe's 9/11 Living Memorial Page. The 9/11 Living Memorial's mission is to permanently preserve and share these stories, and these lives. Though they were taken from us too soon, Abe Zelmanowitz and all the heroes of 9/11 will always live on in our hearts and memories. May we be worthy of their shining example. Above is a screenshot of the page detailing a memorial to Abe: E 35th Street at Kings Way in Brooklyn was renamed " 9/11/01 Hero Abe (Avremel) Zelmanowitz Way." To add your loved one's story to the 9/11 Living Memorial, please contact Debbie Westfal, family liaison, at (203) 966-3911 or by email@example.com.