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As she attended classes in the California Bay Area, Naomi Shachter was struck by AmeriCorps’ ability to transform the lives of students in her high school. AmeriCorps members served as mentors, advocates, teachers, and friends. “I saw what a big difference service in the community could make,” she said.

In Gen. George Washington’s farewell orders to the Continental Army, he encouraged the soldiers who united in battle to not only maintain their bond as a “patriotic band of Brothers” but to carry forward the virtues they had learned during military service when they returned home. His wisdom still rings true today, as we see example after example of our soldiers continuing to serve their communities after their military commitments end.

James Randall “Randy” Hindert served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam as a Sergeant from 1967-1970. Recently, he began serving our nation again, this time in the local community as a tutor for AmeriCorps at Big Brothers/Big Sisters of St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties in Florida.

He spent 10 years stationed in Fort Bragg, NC; two years in Italy; and more than one year in Iraq. Now his service continues here, on the homefront, as he helps save lives and rebuild communities.

It’s nearly impossible to find a silver lining in events like Hurricane Sandy. But the outpouring of volunteers from the affected communities and around the country who pulled together after the storm to do anything from running shelters, to feeding the displaced, to mucking and gutting homes revealed the heart of a caring nation.

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.

I am honored to be recognized as a Champion of Change through President Obama's Winning the Future Initiative. I have volunteered with the President at service projects in Washington, DC and along with my colleagues at HandsOn Greater DC Cares and the volunteer community of our region, share his commitment to achieving change through service.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Organizations across the country will honor those who were lost and those who rose in service in response to the tragedy by participating in the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance.

It's the start of a long Fourth of July weekend and for many that means a trip to the beach or backyard barbeques. For most it will mean an extra day or two off work and a patriotic celebration of some sort, possibly a parade or some fireworks.

With the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, approaching, memories of the tragic events that occurred that day feel particularly powerful. For most Americans, the anniversary will always be full of history, emotion, and reflection but 10 years later it's become a symbol for the spirit of unity that America demonstrated in the aftermath.

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