Current Event

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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Verizon Communications said it would distribute tape-recorded copies of voice-mail messages left with friends and family by the telco's customers involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist disasters at New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn. The company will honor requests for the voice-mail messages to anyone who asks, and will take care of taping and mailing out the copies. This is not the first time Verizon has performed such a service. However, the scale of the recent terrorists strikes was unprecedented. The company expects that many of the requests will be for messages left by victims trapped in the upper floors of the towers who had no way out; news accounts have been filled with accounts of victims making last-minute phone calls to express love to their families before the lines went dead. There were also numerous accounts of messages left by people on the hijacked airliners involved in the crash using wireless phones, and some of those, too, likely came from Verizon customers.

But some voice-mail messages are likely to be happier in nature, generated by people who placed calls to tell family and friends that they had made it out all right. Despite massive damage to some of Verizon's buildings, computers and phone lines in the area of the World Trade Center, the company's voice-mail capacity was not damaged nor destroyed.

Verizon sustained massive damage when the World Trade Center collapsed, with five of its 19 central offices in New York's financial district affected by the disaster. The facility worst hit was the one at 140 West Street, adjacent to the Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex; that building was partially crushed. The calamity took out service to 200,000 Verizon voice-service customers in New York's financial district, while also blacking out the equivalent of 3 million data lines However, as of Monday - the last day for which an update is available - the company said it has reconnected two-thirds of the voice lines served by its West Street switching center. The company has either completely restored service to these customers or has provided alternative solutions such as rerouting numbers to new locations.

I think the way Verizon give out requests for the voice-mail messages to anyone who asks is really kind and helpful to those who lost their family and friends. It gives them spiritual comfort and emotional support for the family to go through hard times Online companies such as AOL and ICQ are already putting their efforts to help. I think the other big companies such as Microsoft should do something about it also.