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United We Serve

Americans from around the country commemorated the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks with prayer, reflection, and remembrance.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are participating in volunteer service activities today to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary on the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) leads the annual effort to pay tribute to and honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 through service.

By Valerie Jarrett, Neil Bush, and Michelle Nunn  

The first immigrants to America came seeking freedom, but they survived -- and, in time, came to thrive -- because of their determination and because of each other. They valued self-reliance, but in times of strife they also knew could rely on neighbors, friends, sometimes even strangers to offer a helping hand.

That neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit is woven into the DNA of the American spirit. It defines in a very real sense who we are as a people.

It also unites us.

The suicide of 11-year-old Ty Smalley three years ago shined a spotlight on the bullying he had endured for years at his school in a small Oklahoma town.

Birthdays are big events for most people, but that’s not a given for those who are homeless and have few, if any, resources for life’s luxuries.

Last week, the Corporation for National and Community Service participated in a historic moment when acting CEO, Robert Velasco II joined Members of Congress, service leaders, and 9/11 Day of Service partners on Capitol Hill where the National 9/11 Flag made a stop on its nationwide tour.

As part of the President's Call to Service initiative, United We Serve, the Corporation for National and Community Service is working with the New York Yankees for their annual HOPE Week, (Helping Others Persevere & Excel).

Music reached Daniel Trush when nothing else could. In March 1997, at age 12, he had a brain aneurysm and was placed in a medically induced coma to relieve the swelling in his skull. Doctors said that he was brain dead and that recovery to anything resembling his former self was unlikely.

This week has been a great week for service, and tomorrow is the biggest national day of service of the year; Make A Difference Day!

This year, as I reflect on the meaning of Diwali, I also remember the long journey I took to the United States and then to the gates of the White House in my current position as Deputy Chief of Staff at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

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