Looking for a Meaningful Holiday Season? Consider a Worthy Charitable cause!

This holiday season, I became inspired to write a piece that reflects the meaning of the season of giving. While I was expecting to write something on more of an upbeat note, I embraced the opportunity to return to my computer keyboard to honor victims of a tragic event. Why? Because for many, the holidays serve as an occasion to offer peace, be thankful for family and friends, and remember sentimental times spent with loved ones who are no longer with us. 

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It is not a topic many would expect during a festive time of year. But as you read this piece, my reasons for spotlighting an unforgettable episode in U.S. history become apparent when considering how this time each year reminds us to open our hearts.

An Unexpected Inspiration

A month ago, I was steaming CBS News 880 (a New York City radio news station) during a car drive. CBS reporter, Peter Haskell, spoke of the ongoing occurrence of September-11th-related illnesses among survivors of that tragic event. I was astonished to hear that people’s health continues to be affected by the unforgettable attacks. 

Haskell’s radio piece made me wonder if others know of this and what types of support are available to those impacted by this tragedy. I then contemplated the idea of publishing a holiday piece about it. It was helpful to discuss this inspiration with my brother, the first person to tell me about the attacks on that terrifying morning many years ago.

Then and Now

When my brother and I spoke, the first thought we had was that 11 Sundays ago marked more than two decades since the devastating events of the September 11th attacks. Reviewing all the changes we’ve experienced in several areas (for me, this includes finishing graduate school, residing in three different states, marriage, and having children) led to the proverbial question, “Where did the time go?” And yet the fact that the memories of that grim day remain fresh in our minds seems unfathomable to us.

It’s no surprise that one familiar statement my brother and I have come to appreciate is the now proverbial catchphrase and hashtag, “never forget.” For some, however, it’s an event that has become a distant memory, especially with a rebuilt World Trade Center.

While the events of 9/11 occurred over two decades ago, efforts to address the resulting calamities remain active to this day. One such effort includes the diligent work of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner to learn the names of the remains of unidentified victims. The use of “new forensic technology and advances in DNA science” has made this endeavor all the more possible, according to Jaclyn Diaz of National Public Radio. To date, there are over 1100 unidentified remains of victims. For the family of victims, the news of the remains of their beloved being identified helps them to have closure.

Additionally, the many individuals who were in lower Manhattan following the collapse of the two towers continue to require medical treatment and support. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 led to the establishment of The World Trade Center Health Program. This program has served many responders and survivors since its implementation. Because health-related problems have persisted in many individuals, it was reauthorized to continue until 2090.

Offering Thanks and Remembrance During the Holiday Season

During a time of year that reminds all of us to pause to offer hope, joy, faith, and peace and to be thankful for the things that truly matter, let’s not forget to keep in our thoughts the survivors who continue to have health issues stemming from that dreadful day.  Let’s also offer hope and thanks to the staff of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner and their admirable endeavor to help families have closure on lost loved ones. And let’s continue to remember and honor the victims and first responders who lost their lives over twenty-one years ago and the first responders who courageously continued their effort to rescue survivors and recover the dead in the days and weeks that followed.

If you are interested in donating to a worthy cause as a way of commemorating September 11th, CNET published an article listing several charities that continue to help the families of victims and first responders. The online piece also offers suggestions on other ways to help and support those impacted by the devastating events of that day. So, consider contributing to a September 11th charity this holiday season.

© 2022 The Health-promoting Bandwagon. All rights reserved.


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