Paying Tribute on 9/11

By: David Paine, president, 9/11 Day

In the very dark days that followed 9/11, our country struggled to find its footing. Ultimately, we regained our resilience and our strength in part because we came together as a nation in response to the tragedy. For a moment in time, our differences simply didn’t matter anymore. We weren’t Republicans or Democrats, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, gay or straight, Catholics, Jews or Muslims. We were simply Americans. We were just people.

Today more than ever, as we approach the 16th anniversary of 9/11, we need to remember what that felt like, and what it meant to us all. However fleeting the moment might have been, we were given a special gift: A chance to see what our country might be like if we all worked just a little more closely together.

At 9/11 Day, our mission is to foster and grow that spirit of unity, not just on September 11, but all year long. We help make that happen with the help of more than 40 leading non-profits, universities, faith-based groups, and volunteer service organizations under our “TomorrowTogether” coalition. We've come a long way over the years, growing 9/11 in the nation's largest day of service in America, with nearly 30 million Americans spend time helping others in tribute to the 9/11 victims and in honor of the many who rose in service in response to the attacks.

But none of that wouldn't have been possible without the ability to spread our message of hope and unity to millions of America. Our partnership with iHeartRadio, and its ongoing support of our annual public service campaign, has made it possible for our nonprofit to transform 9/11 from a day of tragedy into a day of good. That's an extraordinary turn of events in a relatively short period of time.

What this demonstrates is that changing the world for the better takes more than good ideas. It takes tangible support. Thankfully, organizations with a deep commitment to corporate citizenship, like iHeartRadio, enable nonprofits like ours to make our vision for a better world a reality.