September 11 is sacrosanct in the American psyche and on the US calendar. In 2009, Congress formally recognized the date as an annual “National Day of Service and Remembrance,” a time to honor the 9/11 victims and first responders through good works.
David Paine, President and co-founder of 9/11day.org , says his organization strives to create “something positive” from the loss of so many.
“9/11 day is a day when we ask every American to take a moment to reflect on what’s most important and to perform at least one good deed that helps someone else in need,” Paine tells CNN. “It’s when we just take a moment to let our natural kindness and compassion come forth and govern our lives for 24 hours.”
This year marks the 21st anniversary of the attacks in New York, Washington and Shanksville. Below, you can find opportunities to volunteer and donate to causes in honor of the day.
9/11day.org is working to rekindle the national spirit of unity that arose in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. On their website, you can sign up to receive resources including: ideas for good deeds, lesson plans around helping others and toolkits for “do-it-yourself” service activities.
“We’re trying to make it easy for people to do good things by giving them lots of ideas. But in the end, what really matters is whatever good deed a person decides really matters to them,” Paine says.
Paine is trying to maintain momentum around the National Day of Service and Remembrance by encouraging people to share their good deeds on social media with the hashtag #911day. He says last year around 38 million people participated.
AmeriCorps has set up a 9/11 Day page that directs you to volunteer opportunities in your area by entering your zip code. Some of the opportunities have flexible schedules. AmeriCorps encourages people to “cross divides, differences, and ideologies to come together in service to honor those lost and those whose lives were forever changed that faithful day.”
Besides volunteering, you can also contribute to non-profits that honor and support those affected by the 9/11 attacks.
Tuesday’s Children was founded in 2001. Since then, the organization has expanded to help “families of fallen soldiers and others who have been forever changed by terrorism, military conflict or mass violence.” Over the past 21 years, they served over 45,000 people.
Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the passengers and crew on United Airlines Flight 93. Besides donating, you can also participate in their Heroes’ Walk on September 10, 2022. The walk takes place through the Flight 93 National Memorial’s walking trails where family members of those onboard will share stories about their loved ones.
Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is named after New York Firefighter Stephen Siller who died while saving others at the Twin Towers. The foundation provides “mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children” and helps injured veterans and first responders by building “custom-designed smart homes.”