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Campaign Strives To Make 9/11 A Day For Volunteering

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Founders of the September 11th Memorial and Museum have unveiled details of a campaign to organize the single largest day of service in U.S. history on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

Mary Fetchet says the raw pain of losing her son in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks was eased in the days and weeks that followed by an outpouring of volunteers' help for her family and other families of September 11th victims.

"How those individuals came from around the world. The quilters quilted, the painters painted," said Fetchet.

In that spirit, a national campaign was launched today in Lower Manhattan to raise awareness: that this year, September 11th will be the first anniversary of the attacks to also be federally legislated as a "National Day of Service and Remembrance."

Volunteer and service agencies such as New York Cares already have activities planned for the day.

"We are working with P.S. 76 in Harlem, readying the school for the new year and we're working with the high school youth volunteers program to do reading programming with third and fourth graders there," says Executive Director Gary Bagley of New York Cares.

"It's a wonderful idea, and I give credit to those who organized this," said Sally Regenhard, the mother of a September 11th victim. "And finally we can do something to honor and respect our loved ones, going forward."

September 11th officially became a day of volunteerism when President Barack Obama signed the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act into law back in April.

The idea to redefine September 11th as something other than a day of mourning started with the 9/11-related group MyGoodDeed. The effort is aimed at future generations, with a DVD of volunteer ideas to be distributed in classrooms.

"There are many young children in school today that were either not alive or very young when 9/11 happened," said David Paine of MyGoodDeed. "What we don't want to have occur is them to grow up and only see the images that Osama bin Laden created for us, the burning towers, the death and destruction. What we want to do is teach them the country came together in a spirit of unity."

"It ensures the memory of those who have been lost, but it also takes away the dreariness of the day," said a volunteer.

Campaign organizers have also flagged September 11, 2011 - the 10th anniversary of the attacks - as their deadline for organizing the largest single day of volunteer work in the country's history.

The newly-opened September 11th Memorial preview site at 20 Vesey Street is one place to get more information on volunteering on September 11th.

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