BOSTON – September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance: A Day of Giving.
by Kristy Spinelli, BSD Correspondent
The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of efforts originally launched in 2002 by the nonprofit 9/11 Day with wide support by the 9/11 community and leading national service organizations. This effort first established the inspiring tradition of engaging in charitable service on 9/11 as an annual and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who rose up in service in response to the attacks.
Today in Boston, family members of the 206 Massachusetts residents who were killed during the September 11 attacks when terrorists hijacked four planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, participated in an annual reading of the names on the Statehouse steps. This was then followed by a ceremony and the awarding of the Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery in the House Chamber. Today marks the 16th anniversary of the tragedy. Later in afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker, First Lady Lauren Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito participated in a wreath-laying at the Boston Public Garden.
“To everyone who lost someone here they loved on Sept. 11, I want to say thank you,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in the park’s Garden of Remembrance. “Thank you for your strength, thank you for teaching us about grace and about healing, and thank you for sharing this sacred day with all of us.”
Governor Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey also participated in the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund’s annual service project, filling care packages for Massachusetts military men and women serving overseas. Hundreds of volunteers gathered on the Rose Kennedy Greenway to fill 1,000 boxes and backpacks. Half were being sent to military members serving overseas. The other half were given to needy veterans in Boston. These boxes and backpacks were filled with socks, deodorant, soap, powered drinks and other necessities.
For many families, September 11 is no longer a day of mourning, but a day to honor the lives and legacies of those they lost. On this anniversary we reflect on where we were when we first heard the news of the attacks and how this country seemed to stop in time as we all were glued to our TV’s in some hope that what was happening before our eyes would stop somehow. In some way ALL of our lives changed…things that seemed so important became so trivial. We stopped to realize that PEOPLE were important and relationships are so precious. Things CAN change in a moment and for a time we all believed it and our nation changed. People went back to church, we became nicer to others, conversations were real and deep about important things that mattered. We stepped out of our comfort zone and did things for others…we grasped for a short time to what is eternal. We cried for those we never met and prayed for comfort and understanding during a time that was completely painful and unexplainable.
Much has been written about 9/11, but the one thing I remember about the months after is the unity and caring we, as a nation had and how in this short time it really has gone away Please stop often, just not today, to tell someone you care, to go beyond your comfort zone and help a stranger out. This day showed us that we can be self-less if we choose to be, but it should never take a day like September 11th, 2001 to make this country stop and cherish all we have EVERYDAY! May all the families affected, continue to find peace and comfort in their loss and may we all stop and reflect on what a blessing it is to be an American and know how strong our nation is.
In the midst of all the news coverage during these past few weeks of Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, let’s also pray for strength for those affected with devastation to their homes and communities. May we as a nation who experiences tragedy in different forms, let us unite to help others in need. We are a people of much strength, love and compassion…let’s continue to show it in abundance.