More than a decade later, the events of Sept. 11, 2001 remain a part of the U.S. conscience, and – thankfully – not only for the still-vivid memories of the horror and anguish inflicted that day by terrorist attacks. People and events like those that came together last Saturday in Eatonville make sure that something positive is derived from 9-11.
The annual 9-11 Day of Service and Remembrance honors the victims of the attacks, as well as U.S. service men and women. Volunteers gave up part of their weekend to spend all or part of three hours beautifying and improving the community. The day, which started with a public memorial service outside Eatonville High School, was symbolic of the rejuvenative spirit of Americans in the face of tragedy and aching loss.
The volunteers tackled a variety of projects. They included installing handicap-accessible flower beds at the community garden, cleaning headstones at the town cemetery, digging into groundskeeping at schools, and spiffing up town parks by putting a fresh coat of paint on public restrooms, widening a trail and doing general cleanups. Some volunteers even went looking for odd jobs at homes, offering to pitch in on yardwork and other household chores if the occupants could donate food for the local food bank.
When they were finished, the Day of Service participants were served lunch at a church. Other than that, there was no remuneration or rewards for the jobs well done – nothing, that is, except the satisfaction of soothing painful memories with the pleasant knowledge that they were helping their community.