At the New Canaan-based Voices of September 11th's sixth annual gala on Oct. 16, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly received the Building Bridges Award.
Other participants included singer/songwriter Mary Fahl, Joe Daniels and Alice Greenwald, of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and television personality Joan Lunden, the emcee for the event. New Canaan resident and Voices Board Member Bonnie McEneaney and her sister-in-law, Debbie McEneaney, were the co-chairwomen of the event.
Lunden kicked off the evening by welcoming guests and sharing her personal story about her long-standing relationship with Voices.
Clinton described in detail her personal experience of viewing the destruction at the World Trade Center site from a helicopter following the attacks. She was a New York senator for nine months at the time. Clinton commended New Canaan residents Mary and Frank Fetchet for Voices' ongoing efforts to provide support for all those impacted by the attacks, and its expanded work to help communities prepare for and respond to other tragedies "understanding that we have an obligation not only to remember the past, but to imagine, and create, a better future."
Kelly's Building Bridges Award is presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the 9/11 community and the nation. Kelly was recognized for his leadership in safeguarding New York City in his role as the police commissioner. After recognizing those from the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York and the Port Authority Police Department who sacrificed their lives by responding on 9/11, he spoke about the NYPD's ongoing work to keep New York safe from terrorist attacks.
Daniels and Greenwald gave a preview of the 9/11 Museum, which will open in New York City in the spring. An important feature will be the profiles of those who died in the 1993 and 2001 attacks. They thanked Voices for its partnership in creating a meaningful tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost through the Voices 9/11 Living Memorial Project, which will be a core component of the In Memorium exhibits at the museum.
The evening concluded with a performance by Fahl, including "Dawning of the Day," a song she wrote to commemorate the sacrifice of the 9/11 responders.
Funds raised at the Always Remember Gala support Voices of September 11th's ongoing work to provide long-term services for 9/11 families, survivors and responders. The event will also support the organization's efforts to help families and communities heal after other tragedies, by sharing best practices in preparing for, responding to and recovering from acts of mass violence or natural disasters.