Group Encourages Good Deeds as 9/11 Living Memorials

By Kate Monaghan | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - The word "memorial" brings to mind images of statues, buildings and other permanent structures erected to honor the memory of a significant person or group of people. But the non-profit organization One Day's Pay is asking Americans again this year to honor those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a living memorial.

"It is an initiative that rose from the ashes of September 11th, soon after the tragedy," said co-founder Jay Winuk, who lost brother Glenn Winuk - a volunteer firefighter - in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

The group's website,, offers suggestions for activities that can be completed on or around the anniversary of the attacks that will help others and serve as fitting memorials to the 9/11 victims.

"We felt that the other side of 9/11 needs to be told through the generations, not just the story of the attacks," Winuk told Cybercast News Service, "but also the story of how Americans and people around the world rallied and gathered together and demonstrated the true character that makes up what people are really about, when people are in need."

Winuk said the good deeds performed by those participating will have a broader long-term impact.

"We don't think that future generations should learn in the history books only about the attacks," Winuk said. "Otherwise, the bad guys truly win. Americans really showed each other and the world what we're really about here, and that's worth embracing and keeping alive."

One Day's Pay is not alone in its effort to encourage living memorials in honor of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The movement is also supported by former 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, New York Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Winuk said the effort could not have grown as large as it has without the group's online presence.

"The Internet is critical for this endeavor," he said. "There's a variety of ways you can tap into this initiative, all through the Internet."

More than three million people have participated in the effort since its inception some three years ago.

Because, in some cases, families "don't even have any remains back and have nowhere to go," Winuk said, a fixed memorial is "something that people can go look at and touch, and it's particularly poignant and meaningful to [those] families."

But Winuk concluded that the idea of a living memorial seemed best to him because it reminds him of his brother.

"It emulates the way my brother lived his life. He died in sacrifice to others and tried to lend a helping hand with the expertise that he had," Winuk said, "and I think that's something to celebrate, that kind of spirit of giving."

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