9/11 National Day of Service: Commemorating Tragedy and Triumph

Lara Dorfman, BA


On the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, we look back on a tragic day in American history. Much like previous anniversaries, it can feel impossible to deservingly commemorate the victims, survivors, and heroes who risked their lives without a second thought. That is why in 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. A day so vividly remembered but hard to comprehend has now become a day to give back, to honor the fallen, and to take note of the resilience and compassion that first responders and everyday citizens showed on this day sixteen years ago.

On Friday morning, just a few short days before the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11, several members of the Chester County Department of Community Development teamed up with Friends Association in West Chester for a Day of Service in remembrance of 9/11. Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children is Pennsylvania’s oldest continual running child welfare agency. Friends Association works with families who are experiencing homelessness or on the verge of homelessness by providing emergency family shelter, homeless prevention programs, and outreach to homeless families. Friends relies on volunteers to keep administrative costs minimal, which in turn allows the money to be better spent on programs and services.

The Chester County Department of Community Development volunteers split into two groups. The first group stayed in the Friends Association office and helped prepare for the release of their newsletter. Friends Association explained that a few hours of stuffing envelopes saves over $2,000, which can then be used to assist a family in need. The second group set out to Friends Association’s Emergency Family Shelter down the street, where the morning was spent cleaning, weeding, and moving a family of five from a small apartment to a larger two bedroom apartment, where they will be much more comfortable.

The Chester County Department of Community Development recognizes the importance of embracing different ideas and working together as a team, the same way our 9/11 heroes did sixteen years ago. We volunteer to bridge the gap of our differences and work hard to implement solutions that benefit humanity. As we march forward together, we give back in remembrance to those who lost their lives, lost their loved ones, and risked everything to help others on September 11, 2001.