With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaching, many will recall not only the sadness of that day but also the collective outpouring of support, love and patriotism that immediately followed.
Lots of Americans will attend a memorial and others will want to volunteer a day of service as a way of remembering the tragic events and honoring the memory of those who lost their lives.
Here are some of the notable events happening around the United States on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 as well as some ideas for how to create your own volunteer opportunity:
Undoubtedly the biggest and most important memorial event in the country will be in New York City at the World Trade Center site, beginning at 8:40 a.m. There will be four moments of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m., in memory of the moment each plane hit and each tower fell and the annual Tribute in Light will light up at sunset. That same day, the National September 11 Memorial (at right) at the World Trade Center site opens with a ceremony for victims’ families. It opens to the public on Sept. 12. A host of memorial concerts, exhibitions and other events are also taking place around the city.
In Somerset County, Pa., the National Park Service is hosting a dedication and commemoration service Sept. 10-11 at the Flight 93 National Memorial. Saturday is the formal dedication of the Memorial Plaza, and a commemorative service will be held at the plaza on Sunday.
In Washington, D.C., HandsOn Greater DC Cares has organized the 9/11 Day of Service — actually three days of service, Sept. 9-11, in which thousands of volunteers will donate time and effort at 50 nonprofits, schools and other community organizations. The organization has planned the Tribute to Service on Sept. 11, during which volunteers can work on a remembrance mural and take part in other activities at Freedom Plaza. Similar efforts are happening around the country, many of which are part of the 9/11 Tribute Movement, and the Corporation for National and Community Service anticipating that more than 1 million Americans will take part in its annual Sept. 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. Visitors to the site can search opportunities by ZIP code.
Create your own service activity
There are, of course, plenty of volunteer opportunities throughout the country that exist year-round and outside of major national campaigns. Whether considering creating your own annual tradition or in need of a reason to begin that volunteer work you keep putting off, the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 provides plenty of inspiration.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day, leaving loved ones with a type of grief few can understand. The Hospice Foundation of America remains at the forefront of helping people deal with death and loss and the organization always seeks volunteers. Because death is a difficult subject for both volunteers and the assisted to handle, hospice does require extensive training for volunteers. Although it’s not a drop-in-and-help program, the occasion of Sept. 11 makes for a great time to call and find out how you can help the organization’s efforts in your area.
When people think “Red Cross,” donating blood is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But the organization does more than that, and did so in spades on Sept. 11, including serving meals, providing shelter and deploying more than 50,000 employees and volunteers from around the country. Many of the organization’s services helped support firefighters and other emergency service workers who lost hundreds of their own during the disaster. For the needle-shy and hypoglycemic, the Red Cross’ volunteer site has a number of ways you can search for volunteer opportunities in your area, including those appropriate for teens and groups.
Ongoing health problems related to the fallout of the attack, including cancers, respiratory illnesses and mental health concerns, continue to require attention. Volunteering for local hospitals, mental health centers and nonprofit health services providers is one way to symbolically support the ongoing needs of families and people impacted by Sept. 11.
To learn about organizations that are providing health and mental service support for 9/11 victims and families, visit 9-11healingandremembrance.org, which offers information about resources for these groups. To find healthcare volunteering opportunities in your own community, visit healthcarevolunteer.com, which includes opportunities for this within and outside of the medical field.
There are also ways to make the work you do an act of service. The Taproot Foundation is a nationwide organization dedicated to helping professionals from all fields find ways to do pro bono work in their communities. Taproot provides resources for whole companies to engage employees’ talents toward helping nonprofit organizations dedicated to social problems, as well as individuals interested in using their professional talents in everything from marketing to IT to help organizations in need.
Know of other volunteer opportunities for 9/11? Leave us a note in the comments below.
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