It’s hard to fathom that it’s been 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Like many of you, I remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the Twin Towers and as the events of that day unfolded. The shock, horror, bewilderment, and stunning silence of a day with blue skies yet no air traffic will forever be imprinted in my mind and on my heart.
I am donating blood this Friday because on 9/11 20 years ago, I tried to give blood, but was turned away with many others because they were at capacity. Giving blood felt like something we could do in a moment when there was really nothing we could do.
The 20th anniversary of 9/11 has me reflecting on the role of nonprofits in remembering those who lost their lives and how we as a nation, and a global community, can create meaning out of a tragedy.
In the wake of 9/11, dozens of nonprofits were established to help victims and their families. Charity Navigator released a list of highly-rated funds that are still working today, which includes Tuesday’s Children and the Tunnels to Towers Foundation. These organizations have evolved over the last two decades, but they have not wavered in their core missions.
The Building Movement Project, a nonprofit that activates social change, created a nonprofit toolkit with ways for nonprofits to mark the milestone anniversary of 9/11. They are hosting a Lessons in Solidarity teach-in event on September 14 and will continue to publish resources, podcasts, webinars, and other tools as support for nonprofits and the larger community.
“Regardless of our connection with 9/11, each anniversary is an opportunity to reflect, evaluate and re-commit ourselves to our values and communities.”
And, of course, when we remember 9/11, we must consider the role of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City on the sacred ground where the towers once stood. More than 50 million people have visited the facility since it opened 10 years ago, but even farther reaching than those visits are the programs, educational materials, and content that they create. A brief video remembering the anniversary, as well as their Never Forget Fund, will ensure that the story continues to be told.
My heart still breaks when I consider the loss of life, the pain and suffering, and the trauma endured by so many. But, my heart is full when I consider the role the nonprofit sector has had in how we remember and heal.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO