They say tragedies bring out the heroes. From 2001 to now, we’ve seen several of them over the years on 9/11. This column is about reminding us that amidst the Internet’s incessant doom and gloom, there is hope for humanity. We didn’t have to look too far to find rays of inspiration on the web today.
The 9/11 Day website has been around for a few years now. But its simple message is a great reminder for what we’re trying to do here. “Pledge to do one good deed on this day,” the site says. One small step can mend more than you can imagine. And if you can, tag and share it with #911Day on social networks, to encourage others to do just one good deed.
To raise awareness about #911Day, the organization has a cool viral campaign this year. They recruited a few of the 13,000 teenagers born on that fateful day and asked them to spread the message of doing one good deed on this day.
How you do that good deed is completely up to you, of course. You can help use technology for charity and social change or take up one of 911Day’s suggested causes like donating blood through the Red Cross or offering your professional skills through Taproot.
Apart from 911Day, several other organizations are also offering ways in which you can do a good deed on this day, like the Corporation for National and Community Service:
Not all of these options might work out for you, but you can even help right from your home or through your daily routine. A small feelgood act of technology can have an effect you can’t fathom right now. That takes hardly any time, right?
In the end, the Internet reminded us of how you need to look for the good and look for hope, when the day before the anniversary, a rainbow rose out of where the World Trade Center towers stood.
— Ben Sturner (@leverageagency) September 10, 2015
Remember, all it takes is one good deed from you.
Refugee Selfies and Angela Merkel
Last week, the Internet was abuzz with the plight of refugees from Syria and we found hope in how you can help with #RefugeesWelcome. The organization is headquartered in Germany, which has seen a large influx of refugees. This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent an afternoon taking selfies with refugees.
Now, it’s easy to be cynical and say this is a publicity stunt. And it is. But for a moment, think about a refugee who has gone through hell and then got to meet the head of the country that he or she is seeking protection in. We can mock the selfie culture all we want, or we can realize the power of a simple photograph with Merkel.
Germany is leading the way in Europe’s refugee crisis, and in one afternoon, Merkel lent weight to the effort with nothing more than a bunch of smartphone cameras.
Facebook Reunites a Young Boy with his Sunken Camera
Not everyone in the world is out for themselves. Family photographs are precious, they remind us of good times. On their family vacation, 10-year-old Lawson Bley lost his camera and it sunk into the ocean. He was devastated. Until a month later, when Sean Kerr posted the above photo with a few of Lawson’s pictures on Facebook, asking if anyone knew who it belonged to.
Kerr found the camera and, as a photographer, wanted to reunite it with the owner. The Facebook post went viral (almost 50,000 shares!), the Lawsons contacted Kerr and the camera has been reunited with its owner—with all the 1800 photographic memories intact.
“I think it’s a miracle that someone found this camera lying on the sand and he decided to return it to its owner,” Lawson told ABC News. “I thank him very much and that – just – if I could I would repay him with anything I have, so thank you very, very much.”
In case you ever lose your camera, check in at IFoundYourCamera or CameraFound in case a kind soul like Kerr is ready to return it. If you’re in Kerr’s shoes, make a note at those sites, and heck, just try and go viral on social networks! People have more good in them than you’d think.
The Internet Gives Back for “Unconditional Love”
Back in March, Brice Royer’s Craigslist ad reached a million views. Vancouver-based Royer was selling “unconditional love for $0” because he believed it could help him in his fight against cancer. One woman answered the ad and offered to cook for Royer because she too believed in unconditional love.
Imagine Royer’s surprise when he found out that his aide, Francesca Murray, was a single mom and homeless. She lived in a nearby shelter with her four-year-old. And when Royer asked her about this, she said she was no different than others at the shelter and was hoping she could feed everyone. So earlier this week, he decided to do something about it.
Unbeknownst to Murray, he told her story in an Imgur post, which went viral and people started offering help. It has close to 83,000 views at the time of writing. A local charity farm offered biweekly delivery of organic food for two months.
In keeping with Murray’s wishes to help everyone at the shelter, Royer has set up a page at YouCaring [No longer available], a crowdfunding site to support charity. It’s currently at the halfway mark of its $1000 goal, so if you feel for Murray, drop a few bucks—even five dollars helps!
The page also says that if you’re a Vancouver local, you can drop off some non-perishable food before Sunday to help out.
Love Is All You Need
The viral video of the week didn’t have a cat doing weird things or Miley Cyrus doing weird things. Instead, the world chose to watch love.
Twitter user Valerie Jane was at the Los Angeles International Airport when she saw 80-year-old Bernard Mills waiting outside the gate with a bouquet of flowers and started discreetly recording him to see what happens. After a while, his 75-year-old wife Carolyn Ogden walked into the frame, and the couple embraced and kissed.
Valerie posted it to Twitter and it was soon picked up on Facebook, YouTube and other networks. The video was watched over 23 million times on Facebook!
The couple has been married for five years, after meeting on eHarmony in 2007 after their spouses passed away, according to ABC News. Remember folks, no matter how old you get or who it is for, a thoughtful gift or gesture can go a long way.
Mr. Mills, on 9/11 day, you are the perfect reminder that love is all we need. You won the Internet this week.
Share a Feel-Good 9/11 Story
We really like the attitude of the people at 911Day and other organizations, who are trying to respectfully bring positive stories out of a tragedy. If you have a feel-good story associated with 9/11, we would love to hear it in the comments.
Image Credit: Nattapon Ponbumrungwong via Shutterstock.com