In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, many Americans were compelled to serve their fellow citizens and communities. As a tribute to that spirit of unity – and to honor those we lost – September 11 has been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. On Sunday, we were honored to join CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley for a Day of Service and Remembrance organized by the Volunteer Center for Anne Arundel County in Annapolis, Maryland.
The day began with a ceremony at the Maryland World War II Memorial to commemorate those who have lost their lives in service. We then joined volunteers, including members of the US Naval Academy Midshipmen Action Group, at Jonas Green Park for clean-up activities including debris collection, weeding, planting native species and controlling storm water runoff to better protect the health of the community and the Chesapeake Bay. Our efforts were focused in the rain garden, where weeding and planting were essential to absorb rain water and improve water quality in the surrounding Bay.
The effort was part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort for ocean health. As we got our hands dirty in Jonas Green Park, we were joining nearly half a million others around the world in protecting the coast lines and waterways that are vital to the health of our communities.
The day was a humbling and empowering reminder of what can be accomplished when we draw on our national spirit of unity and service.
Shira Miller and Danny Lampton both work at the Council on Environmental Quality