Sep
08
2011

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Ten years ago, our lives, and our country were changed forever. Most of us remember vividly where we were when we first heard word of the planes hitting the twin towers, and watched in disbelief as the day’s events unfolded and tragedy also struck at the Pentagon and in a peaceful field in Pennsylvania. And while that day, and its aftermath was dark and difficult, we saw an incredibly bright light as our nation’s first responders displayed unparalleled heroism and people from across the land - from the courageous men and women of our volunteer armed forces who responded to the call to serve our country or the millions who gave their time and dollars in support of the victims and their families- demonstrated the incredible healing power of helping others.   In President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address he issued a national call to action in response to the countless acts of service, sacrifice and generosity that followed September 11. Roughly a year later, he created the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, which I had the honor of chairing from 2006 through early 2009. As an advocate for service for our country and the head of a foundation that is rooted in helping create active and engaged communities, I had the privilege to witness firsthand the indomitable and unique American spirit of service – meeting with and recognizing thousands of individuals and organizations around the country that helped to transform the despair of 9/11 into powerful acts of service that have mobilized millions and lifted up communities and people in greatest need.   As a way of honoring the victims and those who rose in service, President Obama and the United States Congress have designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Even before the day was signed into law in 2009 with the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, we have seen how service, compassion, and a helping hand for our neighbors can heal our country's wounds.     More than one million people are expected to serve this weekend in honor of 9/11. And while volunteering is a great way to observe this important day, there are a wealth of additional ways you can get involved, from creating a video tribute, to visiting a 9/11 memorial, or simply taking a moment in prayer or personal reflection. We’ve pulled together an extensive list of resources on our Facebook page that we hope will inspire you.   This afternoon at the Case Foundation, we’re gathering our partners, colleagues, families, and friends to put together hundreds of care packages for American service men and women currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re hoping to show our appreciation for our troops serving and protecting the freedoms our country holds so dearly.  We also hope you will take some time to peruse through the “Learn More - Do More” sections of our website as we have made sure each section is filled with new and fun ways you can give back this 9/11 and all year round.   No matter how you choose to get involved, I hope you’ll take a moment this weekend to pause and reflect on the significance of the day, and find opportunities to join with your community and loved ones to honor our nation and all those who have sacrificed in the name of freedom.

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