September 11 – Day of National Service and Remembrance


Commemorating 9/11 is a solemn matter and most of the services and commemorations this week have been solemn and moving. But today, on the weekend of the September 11 Day of National Service and Remembrance we also commemorate the spirit of America that we saw so briefly after the attacks, when we worked together, pulled together.  We honor those who died that day, we honor those who served that day, by our service to others. We also celebrate the generation that has grown up in the shadow of these wars.

Today hundreds of volunteers gathered at Fort Meade in Maryland,  to build a playground for the children there. Volunteers from Northrop Grumman and Kaboom joined with volunteers from Fort Meade, Blue Star Families and others. Teams constructed an amazing playground, with swings, tunnels, a climbing wall, slides and the path of pavers, some of which had been painted with patriotic themes. Picnic tables and comfortable benches  were built for the parents, some with checker boards painted on them.  Teams built a place where the imagination can take wing, where children can forget that a parent is deployed or about to be deployed, where families can play together and enjoy being together.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta joined us. He signed an Operation Honor Card and thanked the Blue Star Families volunteers who collected dozens of pledge cards from the volunteers, which will be sent to service members and families. Sec. Panetta talked to the group before rolling up his sleeves and going to work.  As he said, this is what America is all about, volunteering and giving back to others. Wearing jeans and boots, he mixed cement and dumped wheelbarrow loads to anchor the swings. Another honored guest, Mrs. Patty Shinseki jumped right in and worked tirelessly as well.

After 6 1/2 hot sweaty muddy hours, the ribbon declaring the playground open was cut by some of the children who had been painting, making cards and working as hard as they could. Group photographs were taken, there was cheering and well deserved congratulations, and many hot tired and sweaty volunteers went home to enjoy a well-deserved rest. Many of these same volunteers will be attending other services tomorrow. This “United We Serve” project celebrated life, celebrated volunteerism, celebrated Joining Forces and working together.


Related Stories:

9/11  The Day Our Lives Changed

Champions of Change : Blue Star Families

Joining Forces


Photograph by the author

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Christina B.
Christina B.4 years ago

Allan A., you hit the nail on the head. Perfectly said.

Margaret P., there's something about your post that scared the h*** out of me.

Nyi Nyi
Nyi Nyi4 years ago


Katherine W.
Katherine Wright4 years ago

Watching all the memorials and whatalls yesterday was almost as difficult as that fateful Tuesday morning except this time we knew ahead of time what the outcomes would be. Still it was heartwrenching. I watched the memorials because I made a vow to never forget those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Tears were shed 10 years ago as they were yesterday with the reminders of what was lost but also with the realization of what the terrorists were not successful in taking away from us.

For me 9/11 is not about political grandstanding but an opportunity to give back to our community with volunteering and giving of ourselves. I hope there were a lot of others who did likewise.

We will never forget....

Alan A.
Alan A.4 years ago

2001/9/11 was a sad day. 2011/9/11 was a sad day as the national propaganda machine (corporate media) enshrined all lessons NOT learned. It was a meaningless day without substance systematically designed to promote ignorance and justify endless war.

I am not referring to conspiracy theories. Regardless, as to what brought down the towers, the events of that day were rapidly cooped for the use as propaganda to further the blood lust of an out-of-control military industrial complex.

2011/9/11 was a very sad day. Rather than a day of genuine remembrance and respectful mourning, it was just another day of media circus at the expense of those who suffered the most.

My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones on that day, all the days thereafter, and all those who continue to loose loved ones as fodder for a military industrial complex that controls a nation and disrupts a world.

Berny P.
Berny p.4 years ago

America you have my thanks for all you have done good in this world.

The ...nutters out there open their mouth but close their eyes....

if you travel a lot like I have done over the many years you will see that the rest of the world would have been ...will be worse off if american values were not there.

Giving the chance to people to have freedom and democracy comes at a price and the US,UK amd many other countries have payed and are paying a high price for this soo...



K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Tereza Z.
Tereza Zugloi4 years ago

my thoughts and prays are with you all.

Colleen L.
Colleen L.4 years ago

I pray that we can become as one. We need to get the heck out of other countries and their businesses. They don't want us there and sadly innocent people were killed here on 9/11/01 because of it. My thoughts and prayers are for all the ones who lost family members, friends and love ones in the tragic event. Again I pray that we can unite. Thanks Karen

Ellen Mccabe
ellen m.4 years ago

Reading these comments is all to revealing that we have not come together as a country.
Sad and pathetic.

Margaret Paddock
Margaret Paddock4 years ago

The article does point out what we have always known. Americans come together to help others in times of trouble be it on our homeland or around the world. It isn't really appreciated by most other countries. Their citizens appreciate it because their governments do not help them.
As for the Iraqis and others they have had more centuries to turn their government into something decent to help all their citizens. Instead they have chosen to abide by a religion that teaches hatred and killing.
The only thing that got us into the war was the refusal of Bill Clinton to do what he could have easily done years before to get rid of the perpetrator that instigated the killings on 9/11.
Our people and many from other countries died because of hate mongers that wanted power and fame. Bin Laden the vermin that he was hid in holes while he encouraged others to go out and die for the "cause". It brought him fame and power in his country so much so that he was able to hid out for years. The government hasn't changed that much in ten years. For all the help that we have sent, construction crews that they kill off, etc. they don't change.
It is time to bring our dear soldiers home. Take a firm stand to protect our only ally Israel and issue a stern warning that America and Israel and any other non-Arab country is off limits lest we extend the Gobi Desert into their land. It is time to take America back and elect a real American again.