10 Years After September 11, United We Serve
I remember exactly where where I was just before 9 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001. Chances are you can, too. We'll never forget those terrifying moments of horror and confusion as long as we live, and we'll always mourn those lost. But as President Obama reminded us in this recent radio address, 9/11 also was a time when Americans responded as Americans do in times of crisis, and came together to help one another get through the trauma and to climb back to our feet. Now, he urges us, it's time to do it again, by joining a national day of service in our own communities.
The national day of service actually is an idea conceived in the wake of the tragedy by families of September 11 victims who created an organization, My Good Deed, Inc., to encourage other Americans to follow their example. Since then, the movement has picked up momentum, and in April 2009, the president signed legislation making the day of service an official national event. Here's a video, entitled "I Will," in which some volunteers -- including both ordinary folks and celebrities -- talk about what they'll be doing on Sunday.
If you're interested in joining, there are plenty of ways you can find a volunteer activity:
- Go to the 911day web page and type in your location to come up with a list of Sunday projects within a 25-mile radius of your home. It's possible to further narrow down potential choices according to the type of community activism that most appeals to you, whether it's teaching someone to read, feeding homeless people or working on an environmental cleanup project.
- Find information about service projects by visiting Serve.gov or My Good Deed's partner organization, the HandsOn Network.
- Follow #911day on Twitter for the latest news and volunteer efforts projects.
- The Huffington Post compiled this selection of planned 9-11 projects across the nation.
In the New York suburbs, where many people lost family members in the World Trade Center attack, planned activities in the "Serve and Learn: Westchester Remembers 9-11" program range from a blood drive to making cards to send to soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Des Moines, Iowa, volunteers are staging a memorial walk and gathering winter coats for homeless veterans.
In Pomona, Calif., Muslim and Jewish leaders and their congregations are holding an interfaith walk for peace and gathering for an ice cream social afterward.
In the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, a local service organization, is bringing together 1,000 volunteers to perform critical home repairs for families in need.
Maybe you'd prefer to create your own September 11 service project. For example, here's a USA Today article about Chris Mitchell, a 47-year-old Foxboro, Mass., landscaper who started out a decade ago by offering to cut the lawn of the family of a September 11 victim. After that, he tended the grass for a soldier serving in Iraq and built a memorial garden for a young girl killed on September 11. His efforts gradually expanded, and today he and his wife head a local organization, Foxboro Never Forgets, which built a September 11 memorial in their hometown and stages food drives and other service efforts.
We'd like to hear about what you are planning to do on September 11 to help others in your community. Contact us via Twitter or post a comment below.
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