Let’s remember the families and individuals affected by 9/11. Twenty-one years have passed since the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11 left nearly 3000 people dead and 6000 more injured. But the shock and trauma of that fateful day remain as deep wounds in the hearts of many – as lasting consequences felt by victims, survivors, and families. This September 11, use your gives to remember those affected while continuing the sense of service that united a nation.
Donate to make a difference: Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, charities swung into action, collecting an unprecedented $657 million and making a significant difference in the lives of survivors and victims’ families. But help is still needed. Three thousand families were forever fractured – parents, spouses and loved ones lost. Responders and survivors are plagued with adverse mental and physical health effects. Nearly a half million people (responders, recovery workers, and residents) around ground zero were exposed to a toxic cloud of dust that fell as ash and hung in the air for more than three months – dust that doubled the likelihood of systemic disease and has been linked to high rates of cancers and respiratory diseases. Use your give to support organizations created to help those still impacted, like Tuesday’s Children, which provides mental health support to families of victims, or Scholarship America, which to date has given away $176 million in scholarships to 3,848 impacted students.
Rekindle the spirit: Looking back on 9/11, many remember the extraordinary spirit of compassion and togetherness that arose in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Plan your gives around rekindling that spirit of service, unity and giving. Volunteer with a local non-profit organization, coordinate a community bake sale or participate in a canned food or clothing drive. Honor the children of 9/11 by collecting gently used toys for local children’s charities or organizations like SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies), which distributes new and used stuffed animals to children in traumatic situations.
Show your gratitude: Write a letter to honor and thank police officers, firefighters, and EMTs who work on the front lines. Send a thank you note to your local station, to stations that risked everything to search for, rescue and care for victims and survivors or join Operation Gratitude and register to write letters to all American Military & First Responders.
Give the gift of life: 9/11 reminds us that emergencies can happen anytime. When mass emergencies occur, people need blood, and they need it right away. Make donating blood your daily give on September 11. Your blood donation can save up to three lives and make you part of a giving community that, together, saves millions of lives every year.
Acknowledge 9/11 advocates: Jon Stewart is a hero for our 9/11 heroes. For over a decade, he has used his unrelenting, impassioned voice as an advocate, lobbying for victims and responders who have suffered irreversible health issues from Ground Zero. After 11 years of bringing visibility to this issue, meeting with lawmakers and fighting for the health care that 9/11 responders deserve, he has also become a changemaker, extending health benefits for responders through the Victims Compensation Fund. Due to his actions, responders and victims’ families will receive support until 2092. Passed by the US congress in 2021, the fund is now called the Never Forget the Heroes Act. Activism like Jon’s must not go unacknowledged – send a tweet to @jonstewart today and thank him for his heroic support!
Start a ripple effect: Teach children about compassion, courage, resilience and hope with simple art activities you can do at home. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum has instructions on how to make these paper cranes that represent healing and suggest using them to create a ripple effect by hanging them in your neighbourhood and posting pics on social media with the hashtag #911MuseumEd
The anniversary of September 11 is a reminder that the unimaginable can occur. However, it is also a time to reflect on and reaffirm our compassion for one another. Just as we must never forget the tragedy that transpired that day, we must also remember how a nation came together to give during a time of unthinkable sadness. As the healing continues, keep giving. Continue to honor the legacies of those we lost, remember the families and individuals affected, and acknowledge those who continue to make a difference.
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