Turning a Day of Tragedy into a Day of Charity

Two female volunteers embrace for a photo while painting a yellow-colored room at a Head Start learning center in Mount Vernon, New York.
9/11 Day volunteers paint a head start early learning center in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, thousands of volunteers arrived at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., to aid in the rescue, recovery and relief efforts. For months, construction workers, first responders and self-dispatched volunteers worked tirelessly, sacrificing so much of themselves to help our nation in a time of tragedy.

On the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President George Bush proclaimed the first Patriot Day. Since then it’s been recognized as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. In an effort to honor and remember those who gave their lives on 9/11, thousands come together each year in the same spirt of service and unity to volunteer their time to help others.  

Organizations like Volunteer New York! lead programs like the 9/11 Serve + Remember event, an annual community-wide day of service dedicated to honoring the memory of those lost on 9/11, the families of those lost and the heroes who responded in the wake of the attacks. In 2018, more than 1,000 local volunteers of all ages gave their time to help others.

Turning a day of tragedy into a day of doing good, the organization 9/11 Day was founded in 2002 by two friends, David Paine and Jay Winuk, in honor of Jay’s younger brother Glenn Winuk, who died on 9/11. It has become the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement, with more than 15 million Americans and others around the world taking time out each September 11 to volunteer, support charities and perform simple good deeds in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and  of other terrorist acts that continue to happen around the world.

For more information about volunteering your time on 9/11 or commemorating 9/11 in your community, click here.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff 

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