How to Give Back on the 9/11 Day of Service

Although government workers serve every day, Sept. 11 is a special reason to give back to the community in new and different ways.

The 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is a way to pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and honor the remarkable community response that followed. Through the 9/11 Day of Service, Americans work together to find meaning in a day of tragedy by redefining it as a celebration of hope and kindness.

Even though 9/11 is now the largest day of service in the U.S., one-quarter of adult Americans said they would have participated if only they’d been asked.

So, we’re asking you to give back on Sept. 11. Here’s how:

Observe a moment of silence

Emotions need an outlet on Sept. 11. A moment of silence is a way for people to come together in reflection and pay tribute to those lost. It has become customary to take a moment of silence at 8:46 am, the exact time the first plane struck the North Tower.

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s guide on 9/11 moments of silence and community conversations is a useful place to start in planning your moment of silence.

Pledge to do one good deed

With so much going on currently, the one way you can empower yourself and others is by dedicating time to do good. Doing a personal good deed for the 9/11 Day of Service can be a great start.

Not sure which good deed to do? Try one of these: Donate bloodget trained to help your community during a disasterhelp out at a local food bank, pick up trash in a neighborhood park, send thank you cards to your local first responders, or bring flowers to a veterans cemetery. You can also find a 9/11 Day nonprofit volunteer opportunity.

Volunteer with coworkers virtually or in person

We are in an age where some people are in the office, some are hybrid and others are completely remote. Volunteering in a socially distanced environment can be a great way to connect with coworkers you have not seen in 18 months. Your good deed can motivate others. Let your coworkers know that you’ll be taking part in the 9/11 Day of Service and you might be surprised by how many people you inspire.

There are many service events you and your colleagues can take part in. Collect clothing, food, or book donations, or host a blood drive. The Corporation for National and Community Service also shares ideas and toolkits for organizing good deeds. If you’re in the DMV area, volunteer at the 9th Annual Mason Nation 9/11 Day of Service, organized by George Mason University. This year’s event will take place on Friday, September 10 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Those who want to continue social distancing can support military service members and veterans in creative ways by making handmade scarves and writing letters. If your office can’t coordinate a virtual or in-person gathering, at the least send an email to staff to encourage them to participate in the 9/11 National Day of Service. Include this blog post in your email as a helpful resource.

Take to Social Media

In addition to sending emails, you can also call upon others to give back by using our most polarizing, yet powerful modern invention: social media

Before, during, and after your day of service in remembrance of Sept. 11, spread the word by sharing your story abundantly on social media (To learn more about using social media on an agency level, check our GovLoop’s Social Media Toolkit).

  • Then, use social media to tell people the good deed you’ll do on Sept. 11.
  • While you’re out there doing good on 9/11, take and share photos and videos of you and even your colleagues during their inspiring service day.

Whenever you share, be sure to use the hashtag #911Day and #NeverForget.

No matter how you choose to serve, the best way to increase the number of people who give back through community service is to invite your friends, family and coworkers to join you.

One of the most memorable effects of 9/11 was how it brought Americans from all backgrounds together. Twenty years later, as we find ourselves in the throes of another tumultuous experience, be it political strife, an ongoing pandemic, or a fight for systemic equity, let’s come together once more.

Will you and your colleagues participate in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance? Share your plans in the comments. 

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