News Release

9/11 National Day of Service Memorializes 20th Anniversary of Attacks 

Tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints join with others giving service nationwide

From coast to coast, tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints worked side by side with tens of thousands more to strengthen America and pay tribute on the 20th anniversary of the tragic attacks on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001.

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“All of us remember what we were doing on 9/11,” said Sharon Eubank, President of Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The founders of the 9/11 National Day of Service want people to remember not the terror but the ability to come together. And that’s why I love this opportunity for us — all faiths, all political persuasions, all neighborhoods — people join and do something that we can care about: making our communities better,” Sister Eubank said. “And that’s a tremendous legacy to remember what happened, our country and the very best that we can be.”

Neighbors worked with neighbors, new friends worked shoulder to shoulder and those previously known as strangers or representing other groups united with cities, charities and churches of all denominations. Together, the groups served and donated their time to charity as a tribute to the memories of the innocent lives lost and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect a nation.

The federally recognized event is organized annually by the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, a nonprofit organization with the mission “... to transform the annual remembrance of 9/11 into a worldwide day of unity and doing good, and to encourage millions of people to remember and pay tribute each 9/11 through good deeds that help others.”

In Clarkston, Georgia, where over the years a high number of refugees have resettled, Latter-day Saint volunteers supported the Tell Me A Story Festival at the Georgia Piedmont Technical College Conference Center. Professional storytelling sessions and other literacy activities took place with more than a dozen interpreters. As part of the event, newly displaced families from the area were invited to pick up free backpacks filled with school supplies and undergo health screenings and vaccinations at no cost.

More than 250 Minnesotan Latter-day Saint volunteers and friends spent the day clearing weeds from deteriorating headstones to help BillionGraves, an organization that preserves records found in cemeteries around the world.

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Early Saturday morning, with the Stars and Stripes in hand, members of the community gathered outside of a Church meetinghouse in South Jordan, Utah, where dozens of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith attended a special flag ceremony to remember the tragic events that unfolded exactly two decades ago.

“For all of us that were alive then, it still is a very profound memory for us all,” said Nathan Evershed, a local Church leader from South Jordan.

According to Evershed, the sense of unity that inspired him to help clean up their local community during today’s day of service is a similar feeling that developed in the hearts of Americans like him after September 11, 2001.

“We were all together as one, and we all joined together as one. And it was one of the most beautiful experiences that I’ve seen in this country in my life,” he said.

Reed Thompson, a firefighter who volunteered to help with the aftermath at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York, back in 2001, also attended the event.

“I hope that this 20-year anniversary reminds people what we promised not to forget, that we’ll draw closer to one another, that we’ll be better people and that we’ll just strive to serve each other every day,” he said.

Just moments after the gathering, Thompson and hundreds of attendees made their way to different activities nearby, with the mission to serve their fellow Americans for a common purpose: to honor the memory of those who lost their lives because of what happened that day despite their many differences.

Across the state, many cities, towns and communities held their own flag raising ceremonies and moments of silence.

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At Wat Dhammagunaram, the Thai Buddhist Temple in Layton, Utah, volunteers began building an outdoor performance stage and weeded an asphalt driveway.

“Everybody can come together no matter what color of your skin [or] religion you are,” said Arune Schwab, a member of the temple’s board of trustees. “We can come together and love each other.”

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At the Centerville Junior High School, hundreds of volunteers assembled around 850 backpacks and more than 1,800 hygiene kits for underprivileged students in the Davis County School District.

The event, organized by Latter-day Saints, Baptists and others, was a great opportunity to serve together.

Pastor Austin Glenn of Flourishing Grace Church in Bountiful, Utah, noted the collaboration in the predominately Latter-day Saint population of Davis County.

“I’m just happy to be part of the community, happy to be a part of a group of people that just love and serve their areas,” he said. “It’s humbling, and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

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Volunteers cut and tied fleece blankets that will be donated to children in need in West Jordan.

“This is an opportunity for us to rekindle our spirit of harmony and fellowship with the larger community,” shared Imam Shuaib Din from the Utah Islamic Center in West Jordan. “So, this is a day where we kind of reignite that flame of brotherhood and sisterhood.”

To encourage Utah First Lady Abby Cox’s emphasis on supporting initiatives to help feed people in need, she and her husband, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, visited the Granite Education Foundation Donation and Distribution Center in West Valley City.

“I think we all know that through service, that is how our nation heals,” she said. “That’s how our souls are healed.”

Thanks to groups of several dozen volunteers that registered to volunteer every hour in the service activity, about 16,000 weekend, dinner and snack meal kits were prepared for families and children in need.

“Right after 9/11, we as a people are much kinder, more apt to be out and helping each other,” said Jeff Rowley, who volunteered with his wife, Melodee, to clean the Jordan River Parkway in South Jordan. “In these stressful times, pandemics and wars and racial tensions and everything else that’s going on, we just need to get back to being a community and helping each other.”

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