Unity: What One Day Taught Us

September 11th, 2001 was nearly twelve years ago.  This fact is very hard to believe, because I recall that day like it was yesterday.  I think I always will, and I bet you do, too.  I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that morning.   As I type there’s a swelling knot in my throat, and my head feels heavy.  I will never forget what happened, what I watched unfolding on the television at work, how worried I was about my big brother, the business traveler, and his whereabouts, how alarmed I was, how vulnerable I felt, how terrified and angry every part of my being was, and how emotions tore through me for months.  Those emotions still hit me from time to time, and I think they always will.  That story is one that I will tell my kids, hopefully their kids and if I’m lucky maybe even my grandkids’ kids someday.

I could tell you my story of that morning, and I’m sure you’d listen and even share yours with me, but my recollection is nothing compared to the thousands of stories told by others that are much more tragic than mine.  This is what I want my children and the generations of their offspring to know.  This is what is important:  The never-ending sense of loss, our forever heartbroken country, the patriotism, the rallying for the fallen, the support, the service, and above all, the unity.  Our nation was united by unimaginably horrific acts of terrorism.

I want my children to learn from our stories.  I want to instill values in them that run deep.  I want them to take pride in this country and to have gratitude for those who have served it and who serve it today.  I want them to serve it to – in big ways and in small ways.  On this September 11th, a dozen years after that horrid day, I will show my children what serving and unity is all about, and I hope you’ll join me.

I work part-time as the Volunteer Coordinator for Activate Good, the Triangle’s nonprofit volunteer center.  I am beyond proud to play a part in coordinating Activate Raleigh 2013, a community-wide 9/11 Day of Service.  I wouldn’t typically use my blog as a platform to promote things, but the 9/11 Day of Service is an international movement that I want to make certain everyone I know and everyone I can reach via this little blog is aware of.   It’s a way to reclaim that day and honor those we lost with good deeds and unity. This September 11th businesses, clubs, organizations, and individuals will honor those lost on 9/11 with volunteerism and acts of kindness around the Triangle and our nation.

Activate Good’s goal this year is to rally over 1,500 volunteers to make an impact during this Day of Service.  I have personally worked to secure more than 40 neat projects with area nonprofits that will take place representing more than 30 worthy causes all over the Triangle that day.  This list of unique projects is available here:

We will also celebrate this tremendous Day of Service with a FAMILY FRIENDLY Commemoration at Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh that evening, and we need volunteers to join us there to enjoy free live music, participate in hands-on service projects, bring non-perishable items for an on-site food drive, and hear words from Mayor Nancy McFarlane and Activate Good as we conclude this amazing day of service. Some of the hands-on service projects that you and your children can participate in will include creating toys for adoptable pets with animal rescue organizations, writing letters for troops overseas, and creating pillows for breast cancer patients, etc.  You can read more about the Commemoration and sign up to be a part of it here:

I challenge you, your co-workers, your congregation, your families, your friends and your children to join us as volunteers and to perform good deeds that day.  Yep, I said, “challenge.”  Now, let me hear you reply, “Challenge accepted.”  And let your children hear your stories of that day.  Teach them to serve this country, those less fortunate, those who’ve lost, those who are lost, and those who need us.  Teach them unity.