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3 Ways to Honor the Past Today

September 11th. It is nearly impossible for most Americans to think of the day without sadness, anger or fear. There are ways, however, to shift the narrative, to direct our energy outward. To remember, and to serve.

While military service and law enforcement are critical, getting involved in your community fights acts of terror, too. Here’s how:

Give. You could commemorate 9/11 by donating to your favorite nonprofit. Better yet, set up a recurring donation so that your favorite organizations know they can count on your support.

Advocate. Consider advocating for a cause. It could be as simple as signing a petition to your school board to require healthier cafeteria meals. Or mobilizing your contacts to speak out on a critical cause, in person or online.

Volunteer. Volunteering leads to the kind of real and lasting change that benefits everyone, breaks down barriers, and is only possible when people from all walks of life are willing to roll up their sleeves and go where their time and talent is most needed. That’s why United Ways and countless other charitable organizations sponsor volunteer projects on or around the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Perhaps you are pitching in at one of these events, or making time to explore other service opportunities.  If you think service is a way of life, committing to a year of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program might be right for you. Andrea Aguinaldo, and AmeriCorps VISTA, signed on because she was “hungry to be part of something bigger.”

Volunteer service and supporting community causes is personally gratifying (and good for you in other ways). Taking action is empowering, as when people band together to rise above tragedy. Service is essential to better lives now and in the future.

Each of us will choose how to fight to advance the common good. Honor the past by helping people today. LIVE UNITED.

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.