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Paying tribute 10 years after 9/11

By Natalie Angley, CNN
Volunteers participate in the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in lower Manhattan last year.
Volunteers participate in the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in lower Manhattan last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Honor the victims, survivors of 9/11 by participating in a Day of Service and Remembrance
  • Volunteer, perform good deeds or support charitable causes
  • Visit 911day.org to post a tribute and upload a photo or video

(CNN) -- What will you do on September 11?

"I will volunteer to serve breakfast to local police and firefighters that protect us everyday." -- Aaron Bynion

"I will send care packages to the men and women overseas fighting for our country." -- Lakisha

"I will stop and remember." -- Mary Y. Ceglia

These are just some of the tributes posted on 911day.org to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

The founders of MyGoodDeed Inc. created the website to encourage people around the world to participate in the annual 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance: a day to volunteer, perform good deeds and support charitable causes.

"We wanted to make sure we were honoring and paying tribute not only to those we lost and the survivors but to the many that rose in service and response to the attacks," said David Paine, president and co-founder of MyGoodDeed.

"We couldn't come up with a better tribute than to rekindle the spirit of unity and service we all shared immediately after 9/11... that spirit of togetherness," he said.

Paine started the 9/11 Day of Service in 2002 with his friend and MyGoodDeed co-founder Jay Winuk. Paine, who was born and raised in New York City, was looking for ways to help. Winuk joined the cause after losing his younger brother Glenn when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

"Besides being an attorney, Glenn was a trained volunteer firefighter and rescue EMT," Paine said. "His remains were found six months later in the south tower lobby with a borrowed medical kit by his side."

Since then, Paine and Winuk have worked to bring meaning to the events of that day.

"People understand more and more each year that 9/11 is a day in which we engage in some form of good deed," Paine said. "All you have to do is come up with some act of kindness and compassion that is meant to help another person besides yourself. That's essentially what the 9/11 tribute movement and our observance is all about.

"We have people who have donated kidneys. Couples that have put quarters in expired parking meters. We have an owner of a floral shop in Tampa give out 12,000 roses. We've expanded from a few communities mostly in the northeast to people from all 50 states and even 165 different countries participating."

The best way to get involved in the 9/11 Day of Service is to visit the website or Facebook page.

On both sites, you can post a 140-character message describing the good deed you pledge to perform. You can upload a photo or video to go along with it and even dedicate your service to a specific 9/11 victim.

"One of the things we all said in those days is that we would never forget," Paine said.

If you're looking to volunteer your time, you can click "Volunteer" on the website to search for opportunities in your area. MyGoodDeed is partnering with several volunteer service organizations to provide an extensive list of volunteer options. You can also support a cause by making a donation.

"Besides allowing people to post simple tributes, we give them some very specific ways in which they can put those tributes into action either by volunteering or by supporting causes or engaging in other types of activity," he said.

Paine's goal is to document a million acts of service nationwide and inspire 5 million people to participate in the Day of Service this year.

"We want to organize the single largest day of charitable activity in the history of the nation in tribute to 9/11," he said. "Ultimately we want the country to take a moment to reflect on the significance of 9/11 and to encourage everyone to pay their respects by dedicating a little time to help others in need."

 
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