My son was born on September 10, 2001. Unfortunately, that means that he enjoyed one day of life during which the daily news didn’t lead with terrorists and war. The even more regrettable reality is that he has known about terrorism and war for his entire conscious life and it scares him. To be honest, it scares me too.
So even though I associate his birth with the experience of watching the horror of 9/11, I now look on that day as a national day of service. A day when we can come together as Americans, just as we did a decade ago, to lend aid to one another and to remember that we all share much more in common than we think we do day in and day out. Whatever our race, color, experience, economic status or educational achievement, we each have something to offer others and each of us needs an extra hand of support at some point.
As we come upon September 11 on the calendar this year, The Home Depot Foundation is beginning a sixty day “Celebration of Service” that will end on Veterans Day (which for those who like such things is 11/11/11 this year). During this time, we’ll be working on over 200 volunteer projects to improve the homes of our military veterans as our way of recognizing their service and sacrifice and of saying thank you. We’ll be doing this work side-by-side with other veterans, many of whom have war-related disabilities, who have ended their military service but continue to want to give to others through their time, talents and sweat.
Each week we’ll also be announcing about $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that rehab and repair homes for veterans. The building projects we’ll support will improve over 1,600 apartments and houses where 2,400 veterans and their families will live. We’ll be making these grants of over $9 million as part of fulfilling our commitment to invest $30 million in three years to ensure that every veteran has a safe place to call home.
I hope that our work will inspire you to get involved this fall to help someone else. We encourage you to think about ways to help veterans and their families, but if you don’t do that, we hope that you’ll give of yourself to help someone else. We’ll be doing that by repairing, painting and landscaping homes, but there are endless ways to volunteer your time to help other Americans. We’ll be telling the stories of what we’re doing at our website and on Facebook, where you can tell us about your service as well. I look forward to hearing about the difference we are all making together before Veterans Day.