Those closest to Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11 might remember two things: both a collective shaken faith in humanity and the amazing upsurge of grassroots goodwill.
Rather than feeling powerless on a day fraught with tough memories like 9/11, the urges us to tap into that positive energy that followed the tragedy over a decade ago.
Last year, the Volunteer Center, located in Tarrytown, had great success coordinating a county-wide day of service to mark 9/11, with all the added attention the 10th-year anniversary brought.
"What's more significant about a 10th over an 11th?" asks Volunteer Center's Director Alisa Kesten. "365 days later the pain is still as painful, the memories are still as strong. We hope we have as strong a showing this year."
This year they have expanded a day to fill a whole week of activities for everyone, all ages and interests, and ranging across three counties of Westchester, Putnam and Rockland.
The planning started "probably the minute we finished the day of service last year," Kesten said. "It's been all hands on deck. It takes a really tremendous effort of staff and volunteers."
Director of Communications Amie Getis spoke to all the effort behind the scenes, and what's it worth.
“Don’t let 9/11 be about the violence," Getis said, "but about the community.”
The ultimate goal being, “we always hope people will form a lifelong connection to a nonprofit in their area. There are year-round opportunities to give back.”
The Volunteer Center pairs people and organizations with volunteering opportunities and real need. A complete list of the volunteer project descriptions for the 9/11 events and beyond can be found at www.volunteer-center.org. Register online or by calling 914-948-4452.
Many projects for the week are filling up, but there are still many left. Here's a sample itinerary from Westchester:
Tuesday, Sept. 11
*Donate Books (and Create Cards) to Deployed Soldiers – Books to Soldiers, a new event in the line-up, 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM, Kensico Dam Plaza
Wednesday, Sept. 12
Thursday, Sept. 13
Food Bank Sorting/Packaging – Food Bank for Westchester, 10:00AM to 12:00PM, Elmsford
Friday, Sept. 14
Saturday, Sept. 15
Art Project - Richmond Community Services, 1:00PM to 2:30PM Yonkers
And how about how about giving the gift of blood on 9/11? Phelps Memorial Hospital is holding a patriotic blood drive.
Honoring Heroes Blood Drive, in honor of those who lost their life on and since September 11, 2001, and those who continue to fight for our freedom. Donate a pint today and save a life!
Call Phelps Donor Services at 914-366-3916 for an appointment.
And on Tuesday, join County Executive Rob Astorino at Kensico Dam Plaza for a twilight ceremony marking the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Here's a look at the program:
- Welcome Remarks: Ned McCormack, Director of Communications/Senior Advisor
- Presentation of the Colors: Westchester County Department of Public Safety Ceremonial Unit, The Pipes and Drums of the Police Emerald Society of Westchester and Hawthorne Boy Scout Troop 1 of the Westchester Putnam Council
- Pledge of Allegiance: Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey
- Laying of the Wreath and Remarks: County Executive Robert P. Astorino,9/11 Family member Rosaleen O’Neill and Boy Scout Troop 1 members Robert Garan, Christian Falco and Sean Healy
- Remarks: Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins
- God Bless America: Luciano Lamonarca, tenor
- Reading of the Names: 9/11 family members and elected officials
- Benediction: Bishop W. Darin Moore, Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church, Mount Vernon
- Amazing Grace: Luciano Lamonarca, tenor
- Viewing of The Rising and Circle of Remembrance
According to a press release from the county, "One hundred and eleven Westchester residents and 12 former residents lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
"The candlelight ceremony will be part of various remembrance activities throughout Westchester that have been organized around the theme of using volunteerism as a way to honor those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. A list of volunteer activities, including blood and food drives, can be found at www.westchestergov.com."
Know of other events in honor of 9/11 in the Pleasantville-Briarcliff Manor area or greater Westchester County area? Please share the details in the comments below.