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As Americans remember those who died in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks with vigils and memorial services, they are also honoring the victims and their families with a national day of service to renew the sense of common purpose that was seen that fateful day.
Nearly 3,000 people from more than 90 countries were killed after the al-Qaida terror group hijacked 4 jetliners and crashed them into the New York City’s World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon near Washington, and a rural area in the state of Pennsylvania.
It was the largest single loss of life in the United States since the 1941 attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and it united Americans to rebuild and face together the common threat.
"Through the twisted steel of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the scarred walls of the Pentagon and the smoky wreckage in a field in southwest Pennsylvania, the patriotism and resiliency of the American people shone brightly on September 11, 2001," said President Barack Obama. "We stood as one people,united in our common humanity and shared sorrow. We grieved for those who perished and remembered what brought us together as Americans."
Heeding the president’s call, groups worked to clean debris off ocean beaches, repair shelters for the homeless and serve meals at soup kitchens. A group in Boston, Massachusetts, founded by some of the family members of 9/11 victims, wrote letters to American soldiers stationed overseas.
A New York group marked the occasion by sending volunteers on the anniversary to help rebuild communities around the country damaged by disasters as a way to repay the aid New York City received after the attack.
This year, as ever, September 11 reminds all Americans that our fate as individuals is tied to that of our nation, our democracy is strengthened by common effort.