I am sure many of you were following yesterday’s news reports of the foiled terrorist plot. It brings to the forefront the reality that we continue to face the threat of terrorism. It also highlights the importance of information-sharing among and between government agencies and the importance of implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Sadly, to date few of the 41 recommendations have been fully implemented and roughly half have yet to be legislated. We encourage you to become involved and will continue to educate you about the issues that remain unresolved.
On another note, last week I attended the screening of Oliver Stone’s movie, World Trade Center along with several other family members. The filmmaker did an excellent job of capturing the story of two rescue workers who were buried in the rubble of the WTC. It also conveyed the bravery of the rescue workers who rushed into the WTC, unequipped to respond to an event of that scope and hampered by their inability to communicate with one another. Personally I identified with the uncertainty their families felt as they were wondering about the fate of their loved ones. Although any film related to 9/11 may be hard for some to view, I feel the stories are important to document for history. Hopefully, the film will also educate individuals, especially those living outside the tri-state area, about the experiences we all share.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for the tremendous response to my suggestion last week to enroll in the September 10th Information Forum and September 11th Commemorative Luncheon. We are excited to add Dr. Robyn Gershon and the Survivor’s Network to our list of panels. Dr. Gershon was the Principal Investigator of the Columbia University World Trade Center Evacuation Study. We hope you can join us for the commemorative events this year. An updated schedule of events is listed on our website. If you plan to attend, please enroll now so we can plan meals,
materials and the little touches that make the Information Forum and Commemorative Luncheon so special. Please read over the materials and
register now by clicking this web link for the Information Forum and Commemorative Luncheon.
Feel free to contact our office with any questions by phone (866) 505-3911 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can we learn from the tragedies of others around the world? This international panel brought to the US by Peaceful Tomorrows will share with 9-11 families their global experience of transforming personal tragedy into positive action. Panelists include:
Olga Takaeva, Russia -- A member of the 'Mothers of Beslan', Olga was present during the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis where armed Chechnyans killed 344 hostages after holding them for three days. As one of the coordinators of the social movement, For the Health of the Nation, Olga is engaged in efforts aimed at assisting the invalids, orphans, and parents lost in the Beslan tragedy.
Joanna Berry, UK -- In 1984 Jo's father was killed when the IRA planted a bomb in a hotel where he was attending a Tory party conference. In a conscious decision to draw meaning from this tragedy. Jo founded the organization 'Building Bridges for Peace'.
Bud Welch, Oklahoma City, OK -- After his daughter Julie's death in the Oklahoma City bombing, Bud became an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. He has addressed the British Parliament and the European Parliament as part of the Amnesty International Journey of Hope in Paris, London and Brussels.
1:15 PM to 2:15 PM--
VOICES is pleased to announce that Dr. Robyn Gershon, the Principal Investigator of the World Trade Center Evacuation Study, will be presenting the findings of this landmark study to the VOICES Information Forum. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this study is designed to identify the individual, organizational, and structural (environmental) factors associated with evacuation from the World Trade Center Towers One and Two on September 11, 2001. Click to read Dr. Gershon's biography. Dr. Gershon will be joined by representatives of the WTC Survivors' Network, which seeks to provide a forum for personal contact between survivors as a means to empower them to both deal with the circumstances of the aftermath of the attacks and to find renewed purpose in that aftermath. We thank Dr. Gershon and the Survivors' Network and look forward to a presentation of special interest to survivors and rescue and recovery workers.
2:30 pm to 3:30 pm--
We are pleased to announce some of the representatives from 9/11 advocacy groups who will be joining us for a presentation on how members of the 9/11 Community can become active in advocating for issues important to them. Panelists will include Monica Iken of September's Mission, Mary Fetchet of VOICES, Kurt and Diane Horning of WTC Families for Proper Burial, and Arnie Korotkin, familiar to many Family Members for his excellent compilations of 9/11-related news and events. We hope to add even more dedicated individuals to this panel and will keep you posted.
Continuing with our past success, once again Voices of September 11th will be having a Children’s Program at the September 10th forum. The program is available our youngest family members – anyone age infant through teenage years. Professional staff will provide different age appropriate activities that include music making, arts and crafts, games, and movies. There will also be a lunch time magic show. The program is free, but pre-registration is necessary. See photos from last year's Children's Program by clicking here.
World Trade Center Memorial Quilt -- Our lives were changed forever on 9-11-01. On 9-13-01, Kathy Baumgardner felt led to start this quilt project. What started out as one quilt has turned into five. One for the World Trade Center Memorial, the Pentagon, the Somerset County, PA Memorial, the FDNY and the NYPD. The end result consists of 5 quilts containing 524 squares from 47 states and 14 countries. Kathy currently exhibiting the quilts before they take up permanent residence in their respective areas-we are so glad she chose to share her wonderful tribute with VOICES members.
Dianne Brudnicki -- A Seattle art teacher, personally financed a book of artwork
created by her students that was distributed to 9/11 families and has been featured on the VOICES website. This year, Dianne is bringing a large number of "friendship boxes," wooden or metal containers decorated with expressions of friendship and support, created by her students for the 9/11 Community. Click here for pictures of Diane's students making the friendship boxes.
VOICES Annual Commemorative Luncheon will once again be a respectful and renewing program as we remember our loved ones on the fifth anniversary. The Luncheon program will begin directly following the close of the Official Commemorative events at Ground Zero, with a light snack and beverage reception beforehand. At the Luncheon, VOICES will recognize the numerous 9/11 family group leaders who continue to play a leadership role in advocating on behalf of the 9/11 families in addition to the artisans who have created wonderful quilts and artwork. Click here to sign up to attend the Commemorative Luncheon on September 11th.
In addition to recording in private room at the Marriott Financial Center during VOICES September 10th Information Forum, to help accommodate all who are interested, StoryCorps booths in New York City will be open extended hourson September 9, 10, and 11. The Lower Manhattan booth, which is near the Mariott Hotel, will have reservation slots available every hour beginning at 9:30 am, with the last slot starting at 7:30 pm. The booth at Grand Central Terminal will also be open and accepting reservations. To make a reservation at either of these booths, please call Tracy at 646.723.7025 x32. Please visit our web site at www.storycorps.net for guidance in preparing for your interview and to hear short excerpts of past recordings.
VOICES of September 11th wants to help you get the word out about memorial events taking place around September 11th this year. If you are planning an event, please email us with the event name, date, location, and contact information as well as a brief description. We are soliciting information on various types of events including: Memorial Foundation fundraisers, community remembrances and memorial dedications, mental health or resiliency support, cultural events, informational meetings, and others as well. A running calendar of events has been posted on our website and will continue to be updated. Add your event to our listings today!