A digitally-created preview image of the 9/11 memorial site
Americans across the country will honor the victims and heroes of the 9/11 tragedy by serving their neighbors and communities as part of the first-ever federally recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Service projects marking the eight year anniversary of 9/11 will take place in all 50 states, ranging from food drives and home repairs to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities. In many areas, volunteers will honor veterans, soldiers, or first responders by collecting donations, assembling care packages, and writing thank you letters.
"Eight years ago, the tragic events of that Tuesday morning inspired Americans to come together in a remarkable spirit of unity and compassion," said President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in a message urging Americans to serve on 9/11. "In that same spirit, we call on all Americans to join in service on September 11 and honor the heroes of that dark day as well as the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad."
September 11 marks the end of the summer phase of President Obama's United We Serve initiative and its transition to a long-term, sustained effort. Since the launch of United We Serve in June, Americans have responded enthusiastically to the President's call to service by replenishing food banks, preventing summer reading loss, supporting veterans and military families, and meeting other needs.
More than 250,000 volunteer opportunities and 2,200 service stories have been posted on Serve.gov, the website created by the Corporation for National and Community Service to support United We Serve, which also lists volunteer opportunities and do-it-yourself project ideas for September 11.
More than 250,000 volunteer opportunities and 2,200 service stories have been posted on Serve.gov
The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of an effort originally launched in 2002 by 9/11 family members and support groups, led by the organization MyGoodDeed, who worked to establish the service day as a way to honor those who died and to rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that followed the attacks. September 11 was officially recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance for the first time this year by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, passed with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by President Obama in April.
"The anniversary of 9/11 is always a very personal day of sadness and reflection for me and my family, but it can also be a day when the nation comes together to embrace once more the spirit of compassion that helped our family and the entire 9/11 community see us through the very dark days following the attacks," said Jay Winuk, who co-founded MyGoodDeed with David Paine and whose firefighter brother Glenn Winuk was killed in the attacks.
"Rightly so the anniversary of September 11 will finally become a national day of service and remembrance and such a designation not only pays appropriate tribute to those who were lost and those who rose in service, but also provides a constructive and meaningful way forward for our nation."