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The true spirit that lives on from September 11, 2001 is love.

I was at work the day the buildings fell victim to hatred. I walked home with people covered in dust and dirt. I helped a man shake the debris from his clothes. I lost friends in those sterling silver  towers of light. There are many who feel that it is an unfortunate event that should be forgotten. My beautiful city was rendered smokey, muddy and sad. The emotional toll of watching doctors, nurses, and common every day citizen rush to help. . I walked home  more than 5 miles to turn back around and go see what I could do. I sat on a floor waiting to donate blood for hours. There were many African Americans  who reacted like  me. It didn’t matter what color, religion, sexual orientation, or creed you were. We were all one. We were bound by the love of humanity to help.

September 11, 2001  is filled with people who dropped everything they were doing to help.These are the amazing true stories of the construction workers who left their work sites and marched down to ground zero, unbidden and en masse, to join the search and rescue effort; of the restaurateurs who emptied their refrigerators, brought tons of food down to the site and fed everyone working there; of the sanitation workers, teachers, phone technicians and thousands of others who stepped forward to help the city revive itself; and of Americans from across the country who joined them. There was the guy in a wheelchair who rolled himself miles from his home in Harlem to bring down a bag of sandwiches. There was the urban search and rescue team that came up from San Juan, Puerto Rico, with their dogs to spend hour upon hour hunting through the piles of debris. And there were those who had lost loved ones in earlier disasters coming to help the bereaved of 9/11 cope with tragedy.

So many thousands showed up from everywhere to help that the authorities had to turn the city’s main convention venue, the Javits Center, into a special site dedicated to organizing the volunteers according to skills and capabilities. Recalling that enormous outpouring of support from “people of all persuasions, backgrounds and beliefs,” former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says, “I saw it, I lived it, and am humbled by the heartwarming, remarkable response that demonstrated the resilience of America.”

Now we honor the dead, recall the pain and hope for the future. We can continue their legacy by serving. I challenge you to serve on this day.

The true spirit of September 11, 2001 is love.  God Bless America and may the lost souls rest in peace.

How To Get Involved  and Serve: Red Cross and Peace Corp.