My community is probably not that different from yours when tragedy strikes: survivors and supporters want to help right away. In the eleven years after 9/11, it’s no different. People still want a moment of respectful silence to mark the senseless deaths of so many victims and first responders that terrible day. But then they do something about it. They get active and form teams. First the silence, then the work.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, September 11 now marks Activate Raleigh Day. It was begun by a combination of business, with tech giant Red Hat looking for an altruistic way to celebrate their move to downtown; support from city government; and efforts of nonprofits like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Activate Good. Volunteers did everything from painting apartments for needy families to weeding gardens at elementary schools. According to reporter Matt Garfield, over 1100 of them came forth to help this September 11.
The spirit of volunteerism is alive and well in America and other nations. It brings out not only the best in us, but as Christian Scientists and others believe, the only US there really is. Volunteers fulfill the prayer in Charles Wesley’s beloved hymn:
Help us to help each other, Lord, Each other’s cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford, and feel [each other’s] care.