/PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Senate today joined with the U.S. House of Representatives in passing historic national service legislation (ServeAmerica Act S. 277) which, like the House GIVE Act, includes a key provision that would formally authorize federal support for establishing the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America as a "National Day of Service and Remembrance." U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) worked closely with U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), co-sponsors of the ServeAmerica Act, to include language supporting the 9/11 Day of Service observance, a program long advocated by the MyGoodDeed.org organization. The 9/11 nonprofit organization was founded in 2002 with widespread support from the 9/11 family community to establish September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Now passed, the House and Senate bills will proceed to conference to reconcile any differences. A final bill approved by both houses of Congress is expected to be delivered to President Barack Obama for his signature within days.
"For more than seven years, we have worked along with many 9/11 families, first responders, volunteers, and rescue and recovery workers with the hope that one day we would be able to formally establish 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance," said David Paine, founder and president of MyGoodDeed.org. "Today we stand just a pen stroke away from creating a historic observance that ensures that the lives of those lost are forever remembered in a constructive and compassionate way by millions of people for generations to come."
"I could not be more proud to work to pass this important provision," said Senator Schumer in a press release (http://schumer.senate.gov/new_website/record.cfm?id=309892). "September 11 should not only be a day for mourning - it should be a day to think about our neighbors, our community and our country. We can take a tragic day in our nation's history and turn it into a force for good."
A New Catalyst for Volunteerism
Under both the House and Senate bills, the anniversary of 9/11 would annually be observed in ways similar to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Individuals, employees, students, members of organizations and others would voluntarily engage in service and remembrance through acts of good deeds, personal and organized service activities and reflection. However, the anniversary of 9/11 would intentionally not be a federal holiday - rather than a traditional day off, it would be a day devoted to community service and other acts of goodwill.
"We are confident that establishing 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance will play a major role in further energizing volunteerism in America, while also bringing a sense of national healing to one of the worst human tragedies in U.S. history," said Jay S. Winuk, co-founder and vice president of MyGoodDeed.org, and brother of attorney and 9/11 rescuer Glenn J. Winuk, a firefighter/EMT who perished when the World Trade Center's South Tower collapsed.
MyGoodDeed.org, a 501c(3) charitable organization based in New York, has lead the seven-year effort to establish 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. Each year MyGoodDeed.org organizes activities that encourage individuals and organizations to set aside time on the anniversary of 9/11 to perform simple acts of good deeds and service that help others in need. Along with Senator Schumer, U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) has been a vocal advocate of the Day of Service initiative and serves as co-chair of MyGoodDeed's Congressional Advisory Board.
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