The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have had a lasting impact on our country’s affairs at home and abroad. For many in the New York City and Washington, D.C. area, as well as those who were called to serve in the following years, the change is absolute: absence of particular friends, family, or coworkers reminds us every day about the sacrifices that have been made. 

Out of this suffering and sacrifice, there is reason to hope: a sense of community and a sense of service to that community. The creation of a national day of service on September 11th each year is an opportunity to give back to communities across the country and join together in service, unity and peace in memory of those whose lives were lost that day.

All of us have 9/11 stories to tell, of service that brought us overseas or feeling a call to serve in our communities at home. The shared memory brings us together and inspires us to serve together too. This feeling of serving a purpose bigger than yourself is what drives many of us to do what we do every day.

Over the first few weeks in September many veteran and non-veteran volunteers have joined forces for a day of volunteering in their communities—and we’re not done. Join us over this coming week at a project in your community

In the words of our President, Mary Beth Bruggeman: “We are better when we’re together, stronger when we serve others, and inspired by the ever-present possibility of a better future — one that we will build, side-by side, one community at a time.” 

This is a glimpse of what our 9/11 Day of Service looks like so far:

“Serving my country and others has always been part of my life.  Both my parents were in the US Navy; my dad served 18 years and my mom served 20 years.  After college I decided to join AmeriCorps as my way of serving my country. The veteran community is near and dear to my heart and I was looking for a way to work in community and alongside veterans when I found The Mission Continues.  To me service is about understanding what sacrifice is and what it means to give up something. Both of my parents instilled in me the importance of putting others before yourself.”

-Keilah, AmeriCorps member, Navy daughter, Platoon Member, Pittsburgh

“I do a lot of veterans projects that we have around the city, and this one sounded really exciting, being here on Ellis Island. I was in high school when 9/11 happened and that event made me want to do something for my country and enlist. So 9/11 is a big day for me as far as wanting to be an American and contributing to my country in some way.”

-Jackie Velasquez, ESPN, Air Force Veteran, New York City

“Serving with The Mission Continues on 9/11 has provided me the opportunity to help youth and communities learn and serve just as our military, first responders, country and communities did that fateful day. I am proud to be part of a movement and organization that believes in change, community, camaraderie, and hope.”

-Kris Miller, Indianapolis

“It makes me feel good. What we know is veterans are assets to the community and civilian leaders in the community, so we can bring the skills that veterans have learned while they served and community leaders together to improve our communities.”

-Kentrell Jones, Army veteran, Platoon Leader, New Orleans