BRENDAN CALLING: Make It A Federal Holiday

wtc.gifPW: [T]he woman who gave birth to my son was evacuated from the World Trade Center, and ferried across the Hudson to safety. So it is impossible for me, and anyone else who watched the attacks unfold, to forget. And yet to this day, while proclamations are issued and communities gather for memorial events and services, there is no federal holiday memorializing the attacks of September 11, the people who died, or the people who rushed to the rescue. There is something deeply wrong with that. One of my favorite holidays is the Martin Luther King Day of Service, which I’ve participated in for the past four years. It’s an incredible event: people from all walks of life, from the wealthiest to the most humble, work on projects that improve the community for everyone. Two years back I found myself talking about FISA with Bob Casey while picking up toys for homeless children. The year before that I was painting the interior of a homeless shelter, much as I did this year. It’s inspiring, and really makes you think about your community and your role in it. One of King’s statements will always stick with me: “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” A federally recognized day of service would be the best way to memorialize September 11. It’s a holiday that would speak to our strengths as a nation, our ability to work together in the toughest of circumstances, to pull through no matter what. It’s a message our fractured nation needs more than ever. By designing the holiday as a somber memorial and day of service, it would discourage car dealerships and retailers from hijacking the day as a sales event. And although it rankles my sensibilities, pragmatism says a day of service speaks more to our American sense of optimism than a day of mourning. MORE


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