Although the events of 9/11 happened a few decades ago, it is still affecting first responders and their families in profound ways. Not only does the trauma of that day never go away, many of those first responders are dealing with health challenges, like Leukemia, due to being exposed to hazardous materials as buildings crumbled.
Whether you know someone personally who assisted on that day, a friend or family member perished in the attacks, or you just think a lot about what our first responders went through, there are many ways you can continue to help.
Donate Your Money
One of the most effective ways to help is to donate your money to a 9/11 charity. It is an effective option if you live far away from Ground Zero and are unable to help in many of the other ways on this list.
It is especially important to donate your money now. As the years have gone by, fewer and fewer people have donated to 9/11 causes. However, many of these charities continue to support the health, happiness, and well-being of first responders and their families, so they continue to need funds.
A few 9/11 charities that still need help today include:
- Tuesday’s Children, which provides youth mentoring, career guidance, and mental health services to first responders, their children, and spouses.
- Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to the dependents of those who were killed or affected as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
- Heart 9/11, which helps other communities to rebuild after disaster as a way of honoring those who sacrificed their health and lives to help during 9/11.
- Voices of September 11th, which provides long-term support services to survivors, victims’ families, and first responders.
Support Legislation That Supports First Responders
Legislation was enacted to help first responders in the months and years after the attack. This legislation was challenged in 2015, but with the help of Jon Stewart, it was extended until 2090.
It is important to support such legislation so that our 9/11 heroes continue to be recognized and supported by our government. Continue your support of this important legislation, should it ever be challenged in the future, and reach out to your representatives any time another law or piece of legislation is proposed that is related to the deadly attacks on 9/11.
Whether it be legislation that ensures attacks like that never happen again or laws that support first responders in your area, your voice counts, as expensive legislation never passes without the support of the people.
Participate in a Stair Climb
The 9/11 stair climb is something that has taken place nearly every year since the attack in 2001. Firefighters, other first responders, and friends and family of the victims of that day walk 110 stairs to represent the 110 stories of the World Trade Center in remembrance of their sacrifice.
Stair climbs can be found in New York City, but you don’t have to live in the Big Apple to commemorate 9/11 in this way. Stair climbs take place all over the country. You can even assemble your own group and hop on a stair climber at the gym!
This event is a way for others who were affected by that day to come together in remembrance, but it can also be a great way to raise money that can be donated to 9/11 charities.
Reach Out to a First Responder Directly
Do you know someone who was affected by the attacks that day? Helping someone directly is almost always more powerful than helping indirectly by donating money or climbing stairs.
Reach out and get to know them, if you aren’t close with them already. By talking regularly, you are likely to discover areas in their life where they are struggling and you could step in to help. Even something as simple as buying groceries or offering to mow their lawn can be extremely helpful.
If you don’t know anyone who was affected by the terrorist attacks that day, you can join a Facebook group or participate in a local stair climb that was mentioned earlier to connect with someone who could use your help.
Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The 9/11 memorial is the perfect place to reflect, literally, on the events that transpired that day. Learn the names of the people who perished that day so they are never forgotten.
Once you have had a chance to visit the memorial pools and reflect on the tragedy of the day, walk through the 9/11 museum. There you can dive deeply into the events that transpired through media, narratives, and a collection of artifacts that will help you understand what happened that day in new ways.
You can continue to support their mission by donating, becoming a member, participating in one of their annual walks, or volunteer, if you live in the area. You can even donate artifacts to the museum, if you have something personal with a direct connection to that day you would like to share.
Be There for Your Community
One of the best ways to honor and support those who are living with the aftermath of 9/11, in addition to those who perished, is to be an active member in your own community. After all, it’s those who came to the aid of others in a time of need who we are celebrating! You can be that for members in your own community.
There are many ways to give back. Just a few ideas include:
- Donate to local food banks.
- Volunteer to serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a soup kitchen.
- Spend time reading to underserved kids at a local school.
- Donate supplies during or after a natural disaster.
Just because 9/11 has been added to the history books doesn’t mean it doesn’t continue to affect people throughout the United States. If you have a special place in your heart for the first responders and people who were directly affected by that day, there are many ways you can continue to help them throughout your lifetime.