As a part of my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA, I was able to volunteer with my team at a Veterans Home. I knew it was going to be a good day but the experience far exceeded my expectations. From the moment I walked in until I left, my heart was full. We played dominoes with a 94 year old World War II Veteran who shared with us his tales of service, we witnessed a Veterans council where these amazing men honored their friends who had passed within the last month and paused for a moment to honor those who perished on 9/11/2001. We got to serve ice cream, a simple but delightful moment to witness these elderly men helping one another with their bowls. They fought next to each other in war and now they serve one another at some of their darkest moments.
As I caught myself almost in tears many times throughout the days I realized that what I was witnessing was exactly the feelings I felt on September 12th. We all pulled together, we stood in solidarity. We helped those who needed help and we felt a sense of pride in doing so. We pulled together. These men I spent time with continued that unconditional love.
I do believe our country is still more together than apart but we could do better. We can remember that we are better together than fighting. We can treat each other with respect, we can laugh more, we can honor more and we can express empathy for all mankind.
As we were getting ready to leave, we thanked everyone for allowing us the opportunity to come and serve them. When we turned to leave, these Veterans broke out in applause...for us. I was overcome with emotion, we did so little and got so much in return.
On 9/11/2001, we suffered a great tragedy and on 9/12/2001 so many did little things that got them so much more in return. We shouldn't forget 9/11/2001 but we should live our lives like we did on 9/12/2001.