In a White House e-mail, the first lady writes that we should all be inspired by the "heroism and selflessness of so many of my fellow Americans in the wake of this tragedy."
From the brave men and women of Flight 93 who sacrificed their own lives to save the lives of others, to the first responders who rushed without hesitation to help those in need, to the young men and women who chose to join our Armed Forces following the attacks - these tragic events united Americans in a remarkable spirit of solidarity and compassion.
It's that spirit of selflessness and service that inspired the first September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance last year. On this day all Americans can honor the brave men and women who lost and risked their lives by serving others in their community.
The e-mail notes that Mrs. Obama will be working with Mission Serve to help renovate a community center for veterans.
First Amendment scholar Charles Haynes writes that he fears "acts of service meant to unify the nation may be overshadowed by acts of intolerance intended to divide. Haynes, director of the First Amendment Center's Religious Freedom Education Project, notes the planned anti-mosque rally in New York. "The New York event planned for 9/11," Haynes writes, "will feature speakers like Geert Wilders, a virulently anti-Islam Dutch lawmaker who says ‘there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam'' and calls for banning the Quran - which he labels a ‘fascist book.'"
But Haynes concludes:
On this ninth anniversary of 9/11, Americans of goodwill can only hope that quiet acts of compassion will ultimately eclipse loud expressions of hate.
It's a sentiment that Michelle Obama is today advancing.
[image via wikimedia commons]