Today I received several messages on Paltalk from regular members of my News Talk Online audience with the alarming news that the declaration of September11 as a National Day of Service was President Obama's attempt to demean the tragic events of that day.
The messages alternatively referred to a Fox News Channel blog posting making the assertion or to a piece in the American Spectator by Matthew Vadum which charges that the president is trying to politicize September 11.
I answered them that the fact of the matter is 9/11 family members have been calling for a National Day of Service on September 11 to honor the memories of their relatives who died in the terrorist attacks and are quite happy that the day has been established by the president. What follows in its entirety is an essay by the co-leader of that movement in response to the Vadum article:
By David Paine
Matthew Vadum's article in American Spectator ("Obama's Plan to Desecrate 9/11", August 24, 2009), sadly attempts to do the very thing it criticizes -- politicize 9/11.
I am the president of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance Initiative, which my good friend Jay Winuk and I co-founded together following the terrorist attacks.
On 9/11 Jay lost his brave brother Glenn, an attorney and volunteer EMT in the collapse of the south World Trade Center tower. Shortly thereafter Jay and I, along with the leaders of all 22 of the 9/11 family member and support groups came together to create this observance as a forward-looking way for all of us and the nation to forever remember the lives of those lost and injured, as well as pay tribute to the many who rose in service following the attacks and continue to do so today in our Armed Forces. We have worked closely for more than seven years on a bi-partisan basis with Republicans and Democrats alike, conservatives and liberals. And this year thankfully, we finally achieved our mutual goal when Congress, in a broad bi-partisan vote, passed legislation that provided federal recognition for the first time of September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance – a very proper and official affirmation of something that hundreds of thousands of people from all 50 states and 170 countries have observed informally since 2002.
We just wanted to set the record straight that this is not, in any way, a government initiative created by President Obama or any government official. We want to make it clear to all concerned that this is entirely a privately-funded, nonprofit observance, supported on a near unanimous basis by the left, middle and right.
Mr. Vadum improperly and unfairly drags the 9/11 families into a much broader political disagreement that exists between those with differing views of how this country should be run. The 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance is a wonderful, patriotic, and constructive observance created by the 9/11 community. It basically tells Osama bin Laden that we will not accept the legacy that he hopes to pass onto to children for generations to come -- solely the visions of evil that he created. This is our chance to take back the day, and see to it that something positive arises from the ashes of 9/11.
Accordingly, we respectfully request that 9/11 not be used any further by either side of the political spectrum to inspire anger, further political agendas, or create destructive divisions between well-meaning and in some cases heart-broken people. To us, doing so represents the true desecration of the day, and worse, it dishonors the many brave patriots who gave their lives and rose in service on 9/11 and afterwards.
David Paine is president and co-founder of MyGoodDeed Inc., the 9/11 nonprofit organization that helped create the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.