Peace Corps Honors National Day of Service and Remembrance on 20th Anniversary of September 11

September 10, 2021

WASHINGTON – Tomorrow, the Peace Corps will pause to remember and reflect upon the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, which took nearly 3,000 lives in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon and devastated communities in the United States and across the world.

On that day, one of the Peace Corps’ regional offices was destroyed as the World Trade Center Towers fell. Of the 20 Peace Corps staff members based in New York, three were at the agency’s office when the attack occurred. All three staff made a miraculous escape.

Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn issued the following statement in remembrance:

“In 2009, Congress named September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance, acknowledging both the tragedy of that day, and the countless acts of service that followed. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of bystanders came together to pull victims to safety, offer care and comfort, and open their homes to those in need. In the weeks that followed, thousands of people turned up in droves to donate blood, clear rubble from the streets, and organize financial support for the families of those who were killed.

“The September 11 attack was a direct affront to the Peace Corps’ mission of world peace and friendship. Inspired by the courageous staff members who survived the World Trade Center attack—we were driven to quickly resume operations at our darkest hour. The Peace Corps staff in New York are just a few of the many public servants who toiled in incredibly difficult circumstances to recover, rebuild and move forward in the aftermath of September 11. In the face of an unbelievable disaster, they showed up.

“There is no comparison to that time in our history. But, again, we find ourselves inspired by the first responders, essential workers and civil servants who are going well beyond their normal duties in order to help our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this lens we can look back on the events of September 11 and have a renewed perspective: a defining characteristic of the American spirit is our ability to unite in service of one another—across difference, across cultures, and across political divides.

“With this sentiment in mind, I encourage all of us to harness that unifying spirit to engage in acts of service this weekend. I plan to join thousands of volunteers in the National Capital Region to pack meals for children, families, seniors and military veterans at risk of hunger in the D.C. area.

“By serving one another, we can work towards healing our communities and take another step toward a more peaceful world.”

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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