On National Day of Service and Remembrance, Americans pause to reflect on the devastating September 11 terror attacks. We commemorate those we lost, and give thanks to the brave first responders that put their lives on the line to help. So, this 9/11, take a moment to remember with us.
Why National Day of Service and Remembrance is Important
A. It’s a reminder of hope, help, and goodness
Like Mr. Roger’s mom always told him—when there’s a disaster, look for the helpers. Although 9/11 might have started in disaster, it ended up revealing the goodness of humanity. From a subway driver that shuttled people away from the scene to the residents of Newfoundland who sheltered the occupants of planes that were diverted in the aftermath, we learned so much about the kindness of people on 9/11. So many people showed incredible bravery, compassion, and generosity during this most difficult of days and afterwards.
B. We must honor those who were lost, and those they left behind
Just as we commend the bravery of the first responders and the helpers, we must keep alive the memories of the people that didn’t make it. We must celebrate their lives, and make sure that they’re never forgotten. That’s one of the best ways we can honor them—it is incredibly meaningful when the nation remembers collectively.
C. We must educate the next generation
We talked about the importance of commemorating the people that we lost in 9/11; it’s equally important to pass these lessons down to children. Although the subject is tough, the next generation has to make sure that September 11 isn’t forgotten. To teach these lessons to our children, teachers and parents can download lesson plans and educational guides, watch documentaries with their young charges, and — perhaps most important of all — simply sit down together to talk. It’s OK not to have all the answers.
How to Observe National Day of Service and Remembrance
1. Donate your time or talents in service
September 11 is an ideal day to seek out opportunities to give back to your community, or do a good deed for those who are less fortunate. Come together with your fellow Americans to plant trees, run food drives, clean up neighborhoods, paint schools...really, any act of service will suffice. The volunteer project you choose doesn’t even have to be directly related to 9/11; simply uniting with others to do good is a beautiful act of remembrance.
2. Visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy and opened to the public on the following day, this remarkable museum offers a variety of exhibits and experiences that pay tribute to the lives lost. Visitors can tour the museum to view its artifacts, archives, and multimedia displays, or simply sit by the twin reflection pools outside. If you live in the area, consider volunteering at the museum.
3. Make a donation
The Families of Freedom Scholarship fund continues to give scholarships to victims’ dependents, while the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund provides assistance to communities affected by disaster. Many people choose to honor first responders by making a donation to the New York City Police Foundation or the FDNY Foundation, or to their local fire departments or police benevolent associations. Animal lovers might choose to donate to a shelter or rescue operation, in remembrance of the many search-and-rescue and therapy dogs whose efforts were monumental in assisting humans during this trying time.