This year, as I prepare to observe the anniversary of September 11, I have decided to take my solemn and respectful observation a step further from passive remembrance to actively honoring those who lost their lives and those who gave so much on that day.
This is a question we hear every year. Every year I tell my story. This year, however, I want to focus more on what I can do to make the day a time of remembering the victims, and the selfless giving of the volunteers who responded to the terror attacks in New York, on Flight 93 and at the Pentagon.
The morning of September 11, 2001, I was preparing for meetings in the Capital Building concerning Childhood Cancer Awareness week. I worked for a foundation that funds pediatric oncology research. It was to be quite a grand week for us. However, that morning everything changed. I saw terrorism up close and personal. I did not get to watch it from a distance while I came to grips with what was happening. It unfolded in person, real life time, no barriers to remove me from the feeling of terror.
I think it’s important for eyewitnesses to share their stories. It’s important to document what happened and how it happened. It helps in the healing. However, moving forward is important too. I think that serving and giving back to the community is one way to honor the memory of all of the heroes who rose to the call that morning. It was truly a witness of the American spirit to see men and women running toward disaster instead of away from it. I want to embody that same spirit everyday by actively seeking ways to help those who come across my path.
Here are a few volunteer ideas for 9/11 and throughout the year. You can do these alone, as a family, with a friend or as a community project. You can do them on a military base or out in the civilian community. I can not do each of these on that day, but I can do them throughout the year and remember mindfully and with gratitude the selfless giving of our 9/11 heroes and our military heroes who sacrifice everyday:
This is a little different than a volunteer commitment. This can be a single act or several acts of intentional kindness that you set out to do in your community. Here are some examples of random acts, but get creative with this! See what small things you can do that are specific to your community!
I hope you have enjoyed entertaining all of the possibilities of how we can observe, honor and remember the undying beauty of the American Spirit. If you decide to join me in this endeavor, please let me know in the comment section! Yes, you can make that one of your random acts! Share with this community what you are doing!