September 11 Tribute Reminds Us of Endless Ways to Serve

Idealist’s Joanna Eng — who usually blogs at the Idealist in NYC blog — graciously attended last Friday’s September 11th event and permitted me to cross-post her account of the event.

The Roots

Photo from Be the Change Inc's Flickr Feed

Last Friday, a rainy and significant day, I was in attendance as 26 speakers and entertainers—including Hillary Clinton, David Paterson, Caroline Kennedy, Gavin DeGraw, and the Roots—came to the Beacon Theater on Friday evening to commemorate the newly-deemed September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. The audience was mostly families of 9/11 victims, as well as many other people involved in service (including a large number of red-jacketed City Year corps members).

Besides being a tribute to 9/11 heroes and their families, the whole event was a reminder of the many ways to serve.

To fit the theme, the night started with a quick and simple “service in your seat” activity: While waiting for the program to begin, audience members inscribed inspiring notes to public elementary school students, who would be receiving donated books from Target.

When the program began, we were reminded of the variety of impromptu acts of service, big and small, that took place on Continue reading

Obama’s Remarks on Signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

Today, President Obama made the following remarks before signing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

Barack Obama on national service

The transcript was released by the Office of the White House Press Secretary. Re-play the signing and hear the speech for yourself on CSPAN.

Thank you.  Please be seated.  Thank you.  Well, what an extraordinary day.  It is good to be here with all of you.

I want to, first of all, thank President Bill Clinton for joining us here today — where’s President Clinton? — (applause) — for his lifetime of service to our country, but also the fact that he created AmeriCorps, and that not only made this day possible, it has directly enlisted more than half a million Americans in service to their country; service that has touched the lives of millions more.

Now, it just so happens that one of those people who have been touched by AmeriCorps was FLOTUS, otherwise known as First Lady of the United States — (laughter) — Michelle Obama, who ran a AmeriCorps-sponsored Continue reading