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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Greg Tucker

As we look ahead to this year’s September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance, let’s step back and consider why service is such an important part of this day.

Over seven years, 9/11 families and support groups worked to establish the day as a way to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that followed the attacks.

The shocking acts of terrorism on the morning of 9/11 killed thousands of people and left a deep scar on our nation. But what happened in the aftermath revealed the genuine heart of the American people. Conflicting emotions of anger, confusion, and uncertainty yielded to feelings of hope, unity, and compassion. We would not forget the day and the people who were lost, but we would not let tragedy crush our spirit.

President George W. Bush spoke about our nation's resiliency in December 2001, saying that we would replace those emotions of anger and sadness with the "memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend – even a friend whose name it never knew."

In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and charges the Corporation for National and Community Service with supporting this effort across the country. CNCS encourages service efforts on 9/11 by promoting service projects through Serve.gov, giving grants to help communities and organizations with their September 11th projects, and providing tools to connect people with resources that will help them to serve.

To Honor With Service

With the support and encouragement of the 9/11 families, Americans are asked to serve as a way to commemorate that day and the lives that were lost; to recapture that feeling that we are better united than divided; and to recognize the strength that comes from placing others before ourselves.

During last year's 10th anniversary observance of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama recalled how the tragedy brought out the best in the American people and urged our citizens to reclaim that sense of unity and generosity by serving on September 11th.

"Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost," said President Obama. "A way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11."

Our ideal selves emerge when we look outward to serve our neighbors and communities while embracing the common good. We can think of no better way to demonstrate this ideal than by uniting with your fellow Americans on this day to pause, remember, and serve.

Keywords: September11, UWS
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At Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Tennessee, a group of students decided to take Do Something’s “Increase Your Green” challenge, where students across the nation competed to see who could make their school most environmentally friendly.
After Hurricane Katrina, retired businessman Bill Groome wanted to help rebuild New Orleans, his home of 30 years, but knew his best talents were not in the carpentry or construction field. Operation HOPE provided him with the opportunity to put his extraordinary business skills to good use.
I have been a Red Cross Volunteer affiliated with the Washtenaw County Chapter in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost 4 years. Because I have a full time job, I cannot volunteer as much as I would like but am able to find 8 or so hours a week to join in the efforts of a fixture of my hometown.
The blind leading the young: DC area woman can't see, but she can read, and she tutors kids to help prevent summer learning loss.
As a longtime blood donor, Kerri P. knows the importance of giving blood. But she never knew that the need for blood would hit so close to home. Her two-year-old daughter, Mary Clare, was born with a heart defect.
MillionTreesNYC is a 10-year initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout the City’s five boroughs.
On June 25th, Molly S headed to a block party, but not for the festivities. Instead, she was busy pre-screening individuals for SNAP (food stamp) benefits - work that she describes as "the most rewarding."
I have been a Community Emergency Response Team member in Cobb County, Georgia since 2004. It all started with my desire to help my family and neighbors to survive a disaster.
A 15 year old sophomore at Great Oak High School in Temecula, contacted Melissa, the Unit Director at the Great Oak Clubhouse in Temecula, CA. She was looking for a community service project that would truly have impact on the community and make a difference for children in her own town.
A community comes together to make the quality of living better for one little girl and, in turn, everyone benefits.
This post from the Arizona Republic just scratches the surface of a great story of service, and how we can help increase volunteerism around the nation.
I am an advocate for energy efficiency.
I am the day to day manager of a nonprofit farmers' market that was founded in February, 2008 with the mission of growing and sustaining a local food economy in and around Pass Christian, Mississippi.
One man has found a way to share his art with the world's most appreciative audience.
Can you imagine a program where teachers have to submit grant proposals to their students? Check out how these middle-schoolers in Florida are taking charge of their education and their communities.
One recent graduate finds a renewed sense of purpose in her volunteer efforts.
The Columbus Crew, the 2008 Major League Soccer champs, took Washington, DC, by storm on July 13. First stop was the White House, where they were honored by President Obama for winning the championship and for serving their community.
The US Forest Service has hosted a volunteer historic preservation program called "Passport in Time" since 1989.
Getting to know your neighbors is one of the most meaningful ways to keep your communities safe.
These ten men are answering the president's call to service from within the walls of their correctional facility. Hear what they have to say.
After watching a news story about his local food bank, Peter N. decided to tackle hunger head on and started "One Can a Week."
Nearly 50% of residents of Lansing Michigan are living at or near poverty levels. In an effort to help residents stretch their financial resources and improve their access to nutritious, locally grown foods, the Old Town Commercial Association is sponsoring the first ever Community Garden project.
Welcome to the United We Serve "Stories of Service" blog! In this blog we’ll be featuring news, updates, and some of the remarkable stories of service we’ve been getting from Americans across the country are answering President Obama’s call to service. For our first post, we’re thrilled to highlight Major League Baseball’s grand slam effort in support of United We Serve at tonight’s All-Star Game.
On June 22nd, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign.
On June 23, 2009 St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) launched its first volunteer-based weatherization project under the President’s United We Serve initiative.
To kick off United We Serve, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Secretary said that meeting with the soldiers “lifted him up.”
On June 22, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan kicked off United We Serve by volunteering with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, LA.
Libraries across the country provide opportunities for young people to stay engaged this summer. The Department of Education is fighting summer learning loss and asking all Americans to help children and youth develop a passion for reading. What will you do?
First Lady Michelle Obama helps build a new playground in San Francisco, discusses the importance of service in tackling our nation's greatest challenges and discovers her new favorite tool - the ratchet.

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