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"The Jersey Girls" - 9/11 Widows Turn Grief into Activism

Four New Jersey Women Became the Face of a Movement to Investigate 9/11


The tragedy of 9/11 brought Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken together to turn grief into activism.

Kristen Breitweiser and Lorie Van Auken read the 911 Commission's report during a news conference July 22, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

© Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Of all the 9/11 family members, it was Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken who didn't shy away from using their personal tragedy to get things moving forward in Washington, D.C. All widowed when their husbands died in the World Trade Center collapse, the four women from New Jersey weren't satisfied with condolences or financial compensation for their loss. They wanted to know how such a thing could happen on American soil. Together, they turned their grief into political activism. The most visible members of the Family Steering Committee, a group of 9/11 relatives who pushed for an independent commission to investigate the terrorist attacks, the four were dubbed "the Jersey Girls" by Washington lawmakers. Through visits to the White House and Capitol Hill, they and other family members of 9/11 victims were instrumental in forcing the Bush Administration to create the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks . The Jersey Girls and other 9/11 widows were driven by one simple purpose -- to find the answer to the question, "Why did our love ones die?"
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