3 Responses to Tragedy

The relatives of those who died on September 11th were moved to respond in different ways. The examples on this page show three possible courses of action, reflecting at times radically different concerns. (Note: Bruce De Cell appears in the film, Peaceful Tommorows does not. Lorie Van Auken played a harrowing recording of a final call from her husband, Kenneth Van Auken, who was trapped on the 105th floor of Tower One, during her July 2005 testimony, and this recording is also in the film.)


The retired New York City police officer is the father-in-law of Mark Petrocelli, age 28, WTC, North Tower, 92nd floor. He is a member of Families for a Secure America, which does not question the official account, but does hold that “the federal government failed to live up to its most basic obligation to its citizens – to protect them from foreign attack. There were failures in the areas of foreign and domestic intelligence. There was a failure to respond with sufficient force to the string of terrorist acts perpetrated against American citizens throughout the 1990’s. And we know our government failed to maintain control of our borders. The failure to keep out unauthorized aliens led directly to the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of our loved ones.”

Bruce De Cell  


Three of the four “Jersey Widows” were married to men who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, but they became friends only after their husbands were lost to the disaster. The four women are known nationally for their direct challenge to the lack of transparency in official accounts of 9/11. They fought alongside hundreds of other September 11th relatives in a 14-month battle to gain an independent investigation, finally overcoming the stubborn opposition of the White House. After the 9/11 Commission was convened in 2003, they were among the dozen September 11th relatives who formed the Family Steering Committee, which oversaw the Commission’s activities. In advance of each hearing, the FSC published exhaustive sets of questions directed to the witnesses and to the Commission’s research staff. Although the Commissioners made much of how these questions would serve as their blueprint, they completely ignored the vast majority of the queries, and of the issues that the FSC raised. The families repeatedly called for the resignation of the Commission’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, due to what they described as his grave conflicts of interest (Zelikow was and is a member of the Bush administration and a close associate of Condoleezza Rice.) But to no avail.



Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg Kleinberg (l.) and Van Auken (c.) testify at the Capitol
with Monica Gabrielle (r.) of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign

The Jersey Widows Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg gave the Commission a failing final report card, and delivered a blistering critique on Capitol Hill during a July 2005 briefing held by Cynthia McKinney. Kristen Breitweiser and Patty Casazza remain equally active in the public eye, still posing the questions, still waiting for the answers.

Read Van Auken’s statement here.


Peaceful Tomorrows


“Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace. By developing and advocating nonviolent options and actions in the pursuit of justice, we hope to break the cycles of violence engendered by war and terrorism. Acknowledging our common experience with all people affected by violence throughout the world, we work to create a safer and more peaceful world for everyone.”