As the nation digested a 567-page report detailing the failures of intelligence agencies, politicians and first responders before and on Sept. 11, 2001, many of those most directly affected by the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 found yesterday that they weren't particularly interested in its conclusions.
"To be perfectly honest with you, I think it was a big waste of time," said Mary Perez, who lost her husband, Anthony, a computer specialist at Cantor Fitzgerald. Perez, of Locust Valley, followed the Sept. 11 commission hearings sporadically but had not read yesterday's report.
"Fingers have been pointed here, there and everywhere," she said. "I know you want somebody to blame, but at this point I think it's not who's to blame, but fix it already. Fix the situation, learn from the mistake."
Chris Burke, 45, of Glen Head called the attempts to assign blame "Monday-morning quarterbacking." Burke's younger brother, Tom, also worked at Cantor Fitzgerald and was killed in the attacks.
In his conversations with other 9/11 families, Burke, the founder and president of Tuesday's Children, an organization that advocates for the children of those lost in the attacks, said the majority of families want to "correct what went wrong so that other families don't have to walk in their shoes," rather than engage in finger-pointing.
"I'm angry my brother's dead," he said. "But to crucify President Bush or Clinton or the CIA doesn't get us one step further."
Jerri Smith, of Mastic, was frustrated by the tone of some hearings, especially those focusing on the reaction of emergency services. Her husband, Kevin Smith, was a firefighter in a hazardous-materials unit.
"I watched them bash a lot of departments," Smith said. "I think it takes away from what my husband did. ... There's no department in the world, no matter how big they are, that can handle that many casualties and rescues and evacuations."
Sally Regenhard, of the North Bronx, said she still has questions that weren't answered in yesterday's report. Regenhard, who lost her son, probationary firefighter Christian Michael Otto Regenhard, founded the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, a safety advocacy group.
While she was appreciative of the commission, she said, she is "seriously disappointed with some of the aspects of the report as it relates to New York City."
"I don't know what happened to my son," she said. "I don't know what happened to his entire company. I want to find out the true information about those radios and why they didn't work."
Yesterday was an emotional day for Colleen Kelly, 42, of Bedford Park in the Bronx. She lost her brother, Bill Kelly Jr., who was attending a business breakfast at Windows on the World. "I started crying this morning," she said. "In New York City, you don't have to scratch too deep."
She had attended eight 9/11 Commission hearings and found some aspects of the investigation enlightening.
"It was helpful to go through that and see what was happening and what should have been happening, and it gave a sense of the real confusion," she said.
"But the human side," she said, "when I look at the timeline, I'm placing my brother's whereabouts by his Blackberry messages. What was my brother doing when the planes took off? What was he doing when the president was notified?"