LANHAM, Md. (WPGC/AP) — Thousands of volunteers will honor Sept. 11 victims on Wednesday with good deeds performed around the globe.
The anniversary of the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people 12 years ago was designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009. This year, a constellation of volunteer networks around the world will spread goodwill through volunteerism to honor those who died.
Public volunteer projects throughout the week in New York, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and other cities will convene at firehouses and fire academies to show gratitude for first responders by painting and cleaning the facilities. Volunteers gathered at the District’s Fire and Emergency Services Training Academy in Southwest on Saturday to refresh paint, clean up and improve landscaping, and add an outdoor break area.
It’s impossible to say just how many people will participate but thousands have pledged to perform a good deed on Sept. 11 on the website 911day.org.
“We get about 50,000 posts each year from people saying what good deeds they’re going to do for 9/11,” said David Paine, who helped found the day of service in 2002 with his friend Jay Winuk, whose brother was killed at the World Trade Center. “This week alone, we had 19,000 posted on our website.”
People have promised to give blood, donate books, pass out blankets at homeless shelters and volunteer at soup kitchens, among other things. One man is flying from Los Angeles to New York handing out Starbucks gift cards to the flight crew, Paine said.
“It’s very inspiring, to be honest with you,” Paine said. “Our goal all along was just that something good would come from the day.”
In Washington, Serve DC, the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, is encouraging people to commemorate the Sept. 11 anniversary by giving back to their country and community through its ‘#thankuniforms’ campaign. The social media campaign encourages city residents to share their thanks — through words and photos — to first responders, military members and veterans, while also pledging volunteer service hours in their own community.
Serve DC volunteers will be at five Metro stations across the city from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday to help people complete community service pledge cards, write thank you notes to military service members and their families, and share their commitment on social media. Volunteers will be at the Foggy Bottom-GWU station (GWU Hospital exit), Minnesota Avenue station, Navy Yard-Ballpark station (M Street and New Jersey Avenue exit), U Street-Cardozo station (U Street and 12th Street exit), and Union Station (Massachusetts Avenue exit).
“This Day of Service and Remembrance offers us an exceptional opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to real heroes like first responders and military men and women,” Mayor Vincent Gray said. “Our words of gratitude are powerful, but even more so are pledges to volunteer our time to make a positive impact on our community.”
Students at Friendship Collegiate Academy Public Charter School in the District will spend Wednesday morning assembling 400 emergency-preparedness kits for homeless veterans, participating in safety demonstrations and completing honor cards.
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