Most millennials—and all people of previous generations of Americans—will always remember where they were on September 11, 2001. It’s a day that is indelibly etched in the minds of every person who is old enough to remember. It’s the day that Lower Manhattan went up in a cloud of smoke and dust, and the World Trade Center became known as Ground Zero.
It will also be remembered as the day that all Americans banded together—united by our love of freedom, this great country, and each other. It’s the day that first responders became superheroes. It’s also the day that kicked off the War on Terror. It’s a day that has as many different meanings as there are Americans, but here are some ways all Americans can honor and remember those who were lost.
Hold a Candlelight Vigil
For millions of people in the United States, September 11 is a somber day of remembrance. The lives of people who lost someone on the day of the attack or lost someone who went to war because of the attack will never be the same.
Almost 20 years have passed since the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, but the wounds are as fresh as if it happened yesterday for some.
A candlelight vigil is a perfect way to remember all of the victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Every year, thousands of Americans go to ground zero to light candles for advent and lay wreaths on what has become sacred ground. The presence of the office workers and first responders who met their tragic end on that hollowed day can no doubt be felt in the hearts of the mourners.
Take Up Donations for Victims and Their Families
It’s imperative to remember the sacrifice of the brave first responders and office workers who died on 9/11, but that’s not nearly enough. Many of the survivors are still suffering from illnesses and mental health issues. The families of the ones who died have financial issues to deal with due to the loss of income or exorbitant medical costs.
If you’re active in your community, then one thing you can do to honor the memories of the 9/11 victims is to take up donations for their families and survivors. They need funding for everything from healthcare to mental health services and even help with rent and utilities.
Even if you don’t feel like you can set up a charity yourself, you can donate to charities that already cater to victims and their families. It’s hard to imagine the financial impact that 9/11 had on survivors and the families of victims, but it’s easy to do something about it.
Advocate for Victims and Their Families
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can provide people with is a voice. There are thousands of people in New York and the rest of the country who still haven’t been compensated for their trauma.
The WTC Victim Compensation Fund is set up to reward money to victims and their families, but they still often have obstacles to overcome to receive what’s theirs. If you’re a lawyer or a person of means, then your skills or finances could help someone else get the compensation they need to handle health care and living costs. Firefighters and police officers went from being heroes to superheroes on 9/11. As an advocate, you have an opportunity to do the same thing for them.
Say Thank You
You never know how far a simple thank you can go. A sincere thank you has the ability to warm the heart as not even a candlelit service or money can.
Even if you don’t live in New York City, 9/11 is still a great day to say thank you to your local first responders. Throw a block party, and invite the firefighters and police to it. It’s a great way to show your appreciation for their service and build a bond between the first responders and your community.