A Way to Honor

On September 11, 2001 Glenn Winuk lost his life while rescuing people in the South tower of the World Trade Center. However, rather than follow the yearly memorials to those who died at the hands of terrorists, Jay Winuk, Glenn’s brother, along with fellow public relations executive David Paine chose to make the anniversary more, a lot more.  The two advocated for all of us to do a good deed, any good deed.

“We do not want this to become a federal holiday,” Winuk says. “Holidays tend to become three-day weekends, barbecues, going to the beach and white sales. We never use the word ‘holiday’ for this. It’s not about taking a day off and doing something fun. It’s a day for reflection and for action.”

Last April, Paine and Winuk’s memorial of action, My Good Deed moved up several notches in the action department.

“President Obama,” the Washington Post wrote, “signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which gave federal authorization to establish September 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance.”

Now, Paine and Winuk’s Good Deed group along with ServiceNation, another volunteer-based group, are working together to supervise “thousands of individual and corporate projects across the country, all designed to honor the memory of those who died on Sept. 11.”

Recognizing a civic duty beyond their own interests, Winuk and Paine teach all of us that responsible citizenship is about more than just paying taxes, voting, charitable giving, protecting the environment or serving on a jury.  It’s about contributing to the overall public good.

“Winuk and Paine say they hope to re-create the spirit of the days and weeks that followed 9/11,” the Post said, “when it was said all irony was lost, strangers reached out to help one another and, as President Abraham Lincoln once put it, ‘the better angels of our nature’ appeared.”

We can use a lot of those angels… now, more than ever.

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