Posts Tagged ‘September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance’

9/11 Remember With Action


Photo: NASA–satellite image of smoke plume rising from Manhattan on September 11, 2001

We all have our 9/11 stories, especially those of us in NYC or DC or Pennsylvania at the time, or those with loved ones who were in the towers or were rescuers. New York was a place like no other in the days that followed–more compassion and care amid the shock than I’ve ever known before or since among a society of strangers bound by an experience. There was a willingness to do, just do, for others you saw everywhere. I don’t know if our nation’s journey toward selflessness would have jumped ahead so dramatically without the tragedy (yes, we still have so far to go)–I hope to never have that tested as a theory in the future–but it did open up a conversation about how to be there and support one another that showed us all at our best. It was not, of course, limited to the United States–I traveled internationally ten days later–on practically empty flights, and everywhere we went in Norway, we were told, again and again, some version of: “We are all American in our hearts, and we are all with you.”

That spirit of service is one of the bright patches from that darkness eleven years ago–and now, September 11 is known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance. If you visit the nation’s websites at, you can find volunteer projects near your home where you can make a commitment and make a difference in the future. Make something change because YOU were THERE (and visit the site throughout the year when it is time to do some giving work).

The website for also provides direct place-based information for how you can remember through positive action. Sign up for a project now.

If you are a New Yorker, or live in the area, and would like to actually volunteer at the 9/11 Memorial museum/Ground Zero site, find out how to apply here. It is revered and hallowed ground for so many, and just a stop on a double-decker tourist bus and photo opp for others, but it is a part of history, and being a steward for that would be incredibly powerful (and a big emotional responsibility). You would be doing things like supporting staff, escorting large groups or visitors with special needs, helping people find specific names on the monument, and more–handing out a lot of tissue, I expect.


September 11-National Day of Service and Remembrance

Last year, on the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the White House declared that date as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. In honor of the heroism and selflessness of first responders, the passengers of Flight 93 who sacrificed their own lives trying to save others, and the men and women who subsequently joined the armed services because of that event, Americans unite in solidarity and compassion (and try to ignore the droning noise from willfully ignorant pretend clergy in Florida who want to burn holy texts).

The declaration of this day as one of service is intended for all of us to honor those who lost and risked their lives that bright sunny morning by being of service to others and our communities. Any thoughts as to what your service commitment will be tomorrow? First Lady Michelle Obama, for instance, is volunteering with Mission Serve, an initiative bringing together civilian and military communities through service and volunteerism. “Working alongside active duty members of the military, wounded warriors, veterans, military spouses, and students,” she said, “I’ll help renovate a community center at a retirement community for veterans in McLean, Virginia.”

To find a service volunteer project near you, plug your zip code or volunteer interests into the search engine at and a listing of organizations needing volunteers tomorrow, and onward, will make it an easy step to making a difference.