We would like to extend our deepest and most sincere gratitude to all our volunteers who made the 9/11 Week of Service possible. Your time commitments, dedication and efforts have been a great service to our communities — from volunteering at the park build or one our of other service projects to donating money for the park and/or helping us spread the word and recruit volunteers, among many other tasks. The Hands On Charlotte Board Chair, Sara Collins, has written a some reflections as well, which are below.
I have never been more proud
I have never been more proud to be a part of Hands On Charlotte than I was on this Sunday’s sunny afternoon, standing on the fringes of the crowd gathered to commemorate the losses of Sept. 11, 2001, and to celebrate the birth of a beautiful neighborhood park.
I have never been more proud of our fantastic staff than I was when Frank Brown, head of the HandsOn Network’s 9/11 service events (who chose to come “home” to Charlotte when he could have gone to New York or Washington or any other place across the country with a HandsOn affiliate), talked to me about how responsive, responsible, innovative and pleasurable the Hands On Charlotte staff is.
I have never been more proud of the 500 volunteers who cheerfully labored for three days to clear brush, build fences, create a community garden, construct benches and walkways and erect two gigantic play sets than I was when I heard them being lauded, over and over and over again, by the elected, corporate and neighborhood officials who spoke about the value of pulling together to help your neighbor – something we in this country do better than in any other.
I have never been more proud to be an American than when I looked up at the biggest stars and stripes I have ever seen in real life waving in the breeze high above the park, suspended from the ladder of a fire truck from Charlotte’s Engine 18 and beautifully framed by a spectacular blue sky and cotton-ball white clouds. In fact, I had to quit glancing up at it after a while, because it truly brought tears to my eyes every time I did.
I have never been more proud of our future than when I watched dozens upon dozens of children swinging, sliding, climbing, laughing, jumping, shrieking, running – swarming over their new playground like the busiest of bees. One speaker alluded to the fact that most of them weren’t even born when the attacks on this country happened 10 years ago, that they would learn about it from their history books instead of living it like the rest of us had. But we’ve said, “Never forget,” for 10 years now, and with our help, they’ll be the ones who never forget, and they’ll be the ones who take the energy and joy from that playground that volunteers built out into the streets of Charlotte and North Carolina and America and this world to make sure that not only do we never forget, but that September 11 never happens again.
I have never been more proud to be a part of Hands On Charlotte than I was on this Sunday’s sunny afternoon, standing on the fringes of the crowd, because this day, this park, is what being a volunteer is all about.