It is always with some difficulty that I start any social media piece about 9/11 (and for those who may be interested, I have personally blogged about the date most coherently here and here.) For many, this date is loaded, so having it be designated one of two days of mandatory service can be a double-edged sword.
However, on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, the service our VISTA cohort provided to the Fairbanks Fire Department felt so incredibly comforting. For the first time I felt like I was contributing something of value on such a loaded day. Helping to clean up the Fire Department training ground (complete with sledge hammer use) helped our cohort meld in such a demolition-great way. As you will see in the slide gallery below, the firefighters not only worked alongside us for a portion of the morning, but also were incredibly generous with their time to our littlest helpers; I expect they now have two new firefighter recruits.
My deepest hat tip to those who run directly into situations most of us try with our best efforts to avoid. Our VISTA day of remembrance/service with the Fairbanks Fire Department was a true highlight of my beginning time here in the Golden Heart City.