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9/11 Anniversary: Volunteers Treat Solemn Occasion As A Day Of Service

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Hundreds of Manhattan volunteers spent September 11th in soup kitchens and schools as part of the nationwide 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.

On the anniversary of the day of terror that America will never forget, some New Yorkers remembered those who are often forgotten.

"I consider it as paying forward. I don't want to dwell on the past," said volunteer Diana Mercado. "It's something you got to step away from and move forward."

Hundreds of volunteers spent September 11th by donating their time at a soup kitchen on the Lower East Side. Their good deed was part of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, a day Congress created to encourage Americans to honor those who died on September 11th by helping charitable causes.

"I think it's just a reflection of how people can take something really terrible, look at it and say, 'It's not the end of the world,'" said volunteer Eric Glover. "It makes sure it makes us stronger in the end."

The volunteers served a hot meal and gave out food to take home to more than 700 people.

One of the diners was Leroy Gibson, who has been out of work for six months.

"Everybody got to stay strong. Keep praying, prayer is the best thing," said Gibson. "The people that we lost, they want us to continue on with our life the best way we know how."

Organizers of the national day of service wanted people to donate their time, not just on special days, but every day of the year. Nowadays, the need for help is greater than ever.

"Even before the economic downturn, pantries and kitchens were feeding 1.4 million New Yorkers -- one out of five New Yorkers," said Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

A few blocks away, another group of volunteers joined American Idol Jordin Sparks at P.S. 140. They made "thank you" cards and put together care packages for American soldiers overseas.

"I think it really makes a difference. All it takes is one thank you," said volunteer Connie Kwok.

Some felt helping others on a what is normally a solemn day sends a message to those who tried to harm our country on that fateful day.

"You didn't get to us at all. We're still here, we still love our country and we're proud of our country," said volunteer Adele Block.

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