What a Difference a Dozen Volunteers Makes! Chicago AIA Convention Activists Net Over 120 More A/E Petition Signers
Written by James McDowell - July 20th, 2014
BUILDING PROFESSIONALS CAUGHT OFF GUARD ON WTC 7
Experience has proven that, when presented with indisputable evidence, the people who design and construct buildings for a living quickly grasp the cause of the third worst structural failure in history.
Of course we're speaking of the 6.5-second demise of the 47-story, steel-framed skyscraper in the World Trade Center known as WTC 7.
But what if, in fact, most building professionals have never even heard about the collapse of this high-rise on 9/11?
This incredible reality — that the majority of our nation's architects and engineers are oblivious to WTC 7—is one of the primary reasons that AE911Truth headed to the Windy City last month for the 2014 National Convention of the American Institute of Architects. It was the fifth time since 2008 that our non-profit organization has attended this annual event, which this year was held at Chicago's McCormick Place on South Lake Shore Drive, the largest convention center in North America. The nearly 800 exhibitors and more than 15,000 architects in attendance had an opportunity to hear AE911Truth sound a wake-up call about the impossible claims of the official story of collapse by fire of the three skyscrapers on 9/11/01.
During the three-day convention (June 26-28), Richard Gage, AIA, and his team of volunteers staffed a 10' x 10' evidence-packed booth, where attendees dropped by to learn the compelling facts which demonstrate that the Twin Towers and a third, new-to-them building were all destroyed by explosive controlled demolition.
In addition to explaining evidence, answering questions, and handing out the AE911Truth petition for architects to sign, they gave away hundreds of 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out DVDs to those who visited the booth. "Most everyone said that they would be quite willing to receive a call from us in a couple of weeks to ask what they thought about the DVD," notes AE verification team leader Laura Nieboer. "We have our follow-up work cut out for us."
Chicago presented what Gage calls "some different challenges from other AIA conventions we've attended. In Denver last year, we had a groundswell of volunteers helping us before we even set foot in the convention hall. On the other hand, we went to Chicago with practically zero upfront support."
But 9/11 activists from near and far rose to the occasion on each of the three days, and by the third day, Saturday, AE911Truth had surpassed even its own expectations, eclipsing the Denver results by amassing more than 120 new petition signers — 100 of them architects or engineers, including four new FAIA members (an FAIA, or Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, is an AIA member who has been recognized for making outstanding contributions to the profession).
"We had a lot to overcome," remarks Gage. "It's a testament not only to our message, but to the very committed volunteers from the Chicago area, and well beyond Chicago, who came through for us to make the event a success."
Of the dozen volunteers who stepped forward, one was local architect Richard Wallace. When asked why he attended the convention, Wallace replied, "I know structures. When I saw the convention was here, and you guys were coming, I said, 'Why not?' I'd been watching these videos for years on You Tube, and the thing that strikes me very sharply is the fact that buildings don't come down the way that these things came down. Building 7, in particular, was not hit by an airplane, and it came down in 6.5 seconds. If you had an apple, and you went to the top of a 47-story building and dropped it, that apple would hit the ground in 6.5 seconds. So that building came down at free-fall acceleration."
"I can't say enough about Mr. Wallace," commends Gage. "He not only helped out at the booth, but drove four of us to and from the airport separately and also took all of us out to dinner multiple times during our visit."
Among the others who lent a hand was Lou Stolzenberg, who came all the way from Madison, Wisconsin. "Lou helped us educate the architects about that with which they should be thoroughly familiar and helped us coordinate our other volunteers as well," remembers Gage.
Another eager volunteer, Jim Swartz, signed up for duty because, as he puts it, "I believe strongly in the aim of AE911Truth — to enlighten people as to the facts of what happened on that day. What I'm finding to be amazing is that 98 percent of the people I talk to have no idea what Building 7 is. And when I show them, they are dumbfounded and they listen."
Dale Pierce, firefighter team leader at AE911Truth, had similar reasons for showing up. "I'm here to write an article on ethics in the professional community. The architects, engineers, and firefighters, all of who have the training, basically don't know anything about the biggest event in our history and in architectural history. They just simply don't know about the collapse of a 47-story building in six-and-a-half seconds. As firefighters, we are required to go into the buildings to fight the fires and rescue the people. But our code of ethics states that we will not endanger fellow firefighters, ourselves, or our equipment. So how are we going to go into a building that's on fire if it could do a spontaneous collapse?"
Remarkably, more than one committed volunteer hailed from regions far from Chicago. According to Nieboer, "Vlad Lewis flew in from Boston to help us out at the booth. In fact, this was his graduation gift to himself. Another gentleman, Reuben Lowe, flew all the way from the UK to offer his services for two days. He brought an amazing spirit to our non-profit educational encampment within the sea of building materials and technologies that were competing for the architects' attention."
Further support came from entrepreneur David Hooper, who authored the new film, The Anatomy of a Great Deception, which chronicles his awakening to the unreported facts of September 11—and which is about to be released in DVD format. Sharing with the architects what he learned about the WTC evidence from his research, Hooper effectively engaged and enlightened many visitors who dropped by the booth.
AE911Truth's effort was not without a hefty price tag. In fact, its exhibitor tab came in at $11,000. "It may seem like a high cost," says Gage, "but when you spread it out over the thousands of professionals we connected with and the hundreds of others who will be watching our DVD, it's well worth our effort and our donors' invaluable financial support. In fact, we are now, for the first time in seven years of relentless outreach to them, in direct communication with the leadership of the American Institute of Architects. Our donors' dedication has paid off big-time with the AIA effort.
"The Chicago convention was also important for us in another way," adds Gage, "in that we discovered how to streamline our networking efforts for future conventions with the addition of a new smartphone-based 'lead capture system.'" Using this technology made AE's gathering of signatures and a host of other contact information more efficient and effective. "We can now follow up much more easily with the professionals with whom we've connected," he enthuses.
Beset by a case of laryngitis, Mr. Gage did not make his usual presentation on Saturday, as was initially planned. Instead, the team opted for a one-on-one approach, which proved extremely effective. On Saturday, Mr. Gage managed to sign up at least a dozen more petition signers in the dining area over lunch.
"It was amazing," he recalls. "Other AIA members would sit down, introduce themselves, and engage in casual conversation, which would quickly evolve into a stimulating exchange about NIST's impossible explanation for the collapse of the WTC towers. And before you knew it, they were signed up. Then someone else would sit down, and it started all over again."
Was food the secret ingredient that facilitated their digestion of some difficult-to-accept facts? We can't be sure, but the approach was consistent with Gage's very first foray into activism, when he convinced all 15 co-workers in an architectural firm that the Twin Towers had been imploded. His magic then: hard truths and free pizza.
Whoever his fellow diners may be, Gage always gives them plenty to chew on, and they seem to come away satisfied with more than the meal.