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Open Letter to the 9/11 Community

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:43 pm    Post subject: Open Letter to the 9/11 Community
From Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:00 am to Thu Jun 25, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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Over the last eight years we have watched an intelligent and rational discussion of legitimate questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks and the 9/11 Commission erode into a polarizing and paralyzing debate. We have witnessed that debate twist and subvert the meaning of patriotism, the call of duty and the cost of freedom, in patently unpatriotic fashion, serving only to obscure evidence, reality and fact with petty partisan politic.

Amid the din and distraction of pundits, politicians and public advocates, one cannot help but note the absence of those voices to which words like freedom and patriotism, words woven into the fabric of their journey and indelible in their loss, matter most. The absence of those voices – which together can move mountains, mountains sure to stand in their silence – is deafening. It begs the question...

Where are the 9/11 Families?

As 9/11 family members our heads are neither buried in the sand nor lost in the clouds. The focus of the ‘silent majority’ of 9/11 Families in the aftermath of this painfully private yet glaringly public tragedy was on family. On picking up the pieces of shattered lives and finding positives for loved ones left behind. Families doing, under unprecedented circumstances, exactly what families by definition do.

Where are the First Responders?

As First Responders, we witnessed the cost of freedom firsthand, buried in the hallowed ground to which we descended and remained until our job was done. The First Responders answered our government’s call to duty only to find themselves buried under the shadow of a growing illness to which our government, having asked and received, without question or hesitation, all they had to give, has not responded in kind.

Where are the Survivors?

Countless survivors escaped the fate of the families of September 11 yet witnessed, closer than us all, the hell on earth they must walk with to this day. As those same survivors also walk with the sense of ‘there but for the grace of God go I’, those survivors walk with the families and walk with the first responders as one.

The search for answers.

Many family members who could not or would not look away from this tragedy in its aftermath demanded their voices be heard; were it not for these individuals, those opposed to the 9/11 Commission, or any investigation into the events surrounding 9/11, would have surely had their way.

Unfortunately, despite their best efforts in compiling a comprehensive slate of pertinent questions presented as a framework for the investigation by the Family Steering Committee, the 9/11 Commission was an abject failure, raising more questions than it ever sought to answer. It is both telling and ironic that the defining critique of the commission, its methodology and its findings comes neither from 9/11 family members, conspiracy theorists or television talking heads but from an unbiased and unimpeachable source; those who led the investigation, the commission’s co-chairs Kean and Hamilton themselves.

“Set up to fail”

Definitive though it may be, this statement is but the tip of the iceberg. Criticism directed at this ‘independent’ 9/11 Commission, from sources beyond reproach, only gets worse. Conflicts of interest with the Executive Director and commission members, Republicans and Democrats alike, appointed by both Congress and the President, removed, in the opinion of elected officials from both sides of the aisle, any “semblance of independence or impartiality”. Lack of cooperation from the White House, according to those charged to lead the investigation, amounted to “stonewalling”. Resistance from the CIA was labeled “obstruction” by the commission’s chair. Outright deception from both NORAD and the FAA coupled with the commission’s censorship of FBI and NSA evidence “flew in the face of democracy and reason”, leaving the 9/11 Commission to be seen, at long last, in the eyes of one commissioner, a decorated war hero, for exactly what it was.

“A national scandal”

Scores of U.S. Military Officers, Intelligence Agency and State Department Veterans, Federal Engineers and Scientists as well as Bush Administration Appointees have come forth to challenge the official account of 9/11, calling the commission’s findings “impossible”, “fatally flawed”, “laced with contradictions” and “absurd”. The commissions’ own senior counsel branded its final report’s findings “almost entirely untrue”. And finally, the two words almost too hard for any American to hear but heard again and again, from those in whose hands we place our safety and trust, put the commission in the harsh light it so justly sits.

“Cover up”

Compelling commentary indeed. But after eight years, after congressional and commission reports that have generated more questions than answers and more shadow than light, we have lost interest in dialogue and debate. We have lost interest in commentary and criticism. And, in eight long years, not once have we shown nor held either interest or patience for conjecture, speculation or theory.

We are interested in accountability.

Amid international outrage over hotel bombings in Jordan in 2005, 11 top Jordanian officials, including a national security advisor and a former prime minister, resigned. In contrast, after 9/11, U.S. officials responsible for our nations security were promoted, given Congressional medals of Honor and secured lucrative jobs outside the government. Business as usual and it just won’t do.

We are interested in answers.

The 9/11 Commission stated in it’s final report that “it’s aim had not been to assign individual blame”, leaving itself with no choice but to obscure the facts of the matter in a nod to consensus politics. As opposed to digging for answers, this commission ran from the truth and dealt with every fundamental issue by simply ignoring it. At their own risk? Certainly not.

At ours.

In our nation’s entire history it has never been more important to recognize that those who ignore their history are destined to repeat it. As 9/11 family members, we wish the fate of our families on no other. As first responders and survivors, we wish no American has ever to bear witness to the horror now etched into our souls. There is but one way to ensure no American family follow in our path. That way is the truth. We don’t presume nor pretend to hold the answers to these difficult questions. Those who do should no longer presume our silence.

As Americans, we now demand answers.

In 1918, Theodore Roosevelt said “to even suggest that there must be no criticism of government, or that we are to stand by our government, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic, it is treason”. We understand that patriotism, like duty and freedom, comes at a cost. On September 11, it was not our buildings or our cities or our government that were attacked. It was our freedom. The 9/11 Families’ loved ones paid dearly for that freedom, a cost too high to be paid in vain. Together, we can ensure their sacrifice shall serve not as a footnote to history but to change our history by ensuring the very freedom for which they died.


The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now has emerged as the sane, logical and disciplined voice of a movement for truth with one tangible goal; a public referendum on the November 2009 ballot in New York City to create a truly independent and impartial investigation into the events surrounding 9/11. A subpoena powered investigation that answers to nothing and to no one but the truth wherever it may lead. We ask you to stand with us today in support of this referendum and in support of the freedom our loved ones died for.
Please visit www.NYCCAN.org and sign our Statement of Support, or email us at SignOn@NYCCAN.org, or call us directly at (917) 805-8080. Ask your family and your friends to do the same. We need every American to stand with us now as we take one step closer to the truth. The time to act is now. Don’t turn away. Don’t read your book. Don’t watch your television. Don’t go for your walk and now, when your voice is needed more than ever, don’t hide your head in the sand. We cannot do this without you.

With you we cannot fail.

The strength and goodness of our country lies not in her government or her leaders but with her people. The greatness of this country lay in the hearts of you and I. Some may suggest that the families of September 11 have given enough. We, the Families of September 11, along with the first responders and survivors of this stain on our country’s history and name, believe the call of duty summons us once again to reshape the debate to honor our pride as a nation and our loved ones lost as opposed to the political agendas and the political expedience that cast not honor but shame upon us all.

We believe that this duty calls upon us further to redefine patriotism in this great country not as some blind allegiance or a blind walk off a cliff but as a loyalty to nation and a set of principles handed down by our founding fathers, men of honor, men who built this country, men like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Thomas Paine. Men who moved mountains. Men who would surely walk with us today.

In closing, we ask that you remember this; while thinkers think and talkers talk, patriots act. The answers we seek shall come only to those with the courage to stand up and demand truth from those who would deny us our history and the truths that shape it. History is waiting. The world is watching. We ignore both at our own risk.

Move mountains. Nothing you ever do will matter more.

Thank You,


Donna Marsh O’Connor, Mother of Vanessa Lang Langer
Bob McIlvaine, Father of Bobby McIlvaine
Jean Canavan, Sister in Law of Sean Canavan
Reverend Edith Beaujon, First Responder
Janette MacKinlay, Survivor
William Rodriguez, Survivor

Ted Walter, Executive Director

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