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We lost many lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and we lost a more open, trusting and fearless way of life. But 9/11 also wrought, somehow, one of the most spontaneous and durable outpourings of good the world has ever seen. All over the nation, Americans dedicated themselves to helping others.
On 9/11 Day Observance many Americans serve others as a way to honor the 9/11 victims, their family members, survivors, rescue workers and volunteers. To find a great way you can participate, enter your ZIP code in the Create the Good volunteer opportunity locator.
To share your memories about that day, join the AARP Message Board discussion, "Where were you on 9/11?"
The events of 9/11 inspired many Americans to volunteer as they never had before. Here, the stories of three:
John Battistoni, 57, wanted to become a volunteer firefighter but feared he was too old and heavy. He wasn't. Watch
Zamir Hassan, 62, decided it was time to give back. He began feeding hungry people — many hungry people. Watch
Retirement village residents learned that traumatized children needed blankets. They began making them. Watch
We asked five well-known Americans to explain what was motivating them to make a difference during the 9/11 Day of Service in 2010. Read their moving responses.
A Man With a Mission
"All our lives changed that day." The Grammy winner spent the ninth anniversary distributing food. Read
Observing the Surfer's Code
"The great feeling from giving back can help us beat terror." The veteran surfer organizes his peers to protect the environment. Read
Cooking and Writing to Fight Injustice
"In Arabic and Hebrew, 'bread' and 'life' are very close in meaning." The chef and author took on illiteracy as a day of service. Read
'Swing a Hammer, Swinging a Paintbrush'
"We, as Americans, just rushed in." For this U.S. lawmaker, remembering Sept. 11 was a hands-on effort. Read
On Sept. 11, 2009, the first National Day of Service and Remembrance, AARP Bulletin asked six journalists to volunteer for a variety of projects. Read their powerful essays about their experiences.
First-time volunteer with Meals on Wheels discovers a tight-knit support network. Read
Volunteering on a community gardens food truck proves to be life-affirming service in honor of 9/11. Read
Every 9/11, a Michigan community honors the heroes who gave their lives — and neighbors who risk theirs. Read
An unfulfilled wish to volunteer on 9/11 becomes a long-term pledge to help a retirement community. Read
Even when life gets tough, a woman stays her course of helping others — especially on 9/11. Read
There's magic to be found helping out with the "horse stuff" of a riding-therapy ranch for kids. Read
Looking for ways to volunteer on 9/11? Or maybe you'd like to share stories from your own volunteering experiences. Either way, you’ll find plenty of good ideas in our Create the Good online conversation.
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