Today we remember 9/11 and honor the memory of all who lost their lives and their loved ones on that day. 12 years after the fact, we memorialize 9/11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. What on Earth can an oral surgeon do to be of service on a day like this? We decided to volunteer.
Today, we visited the Plano Senior Center, and it truly was an awesome experience. Dr. Weinstein, his assistant Amanda and I presented information about the oral health-overall health connection to senior citizens at the community center. We shared some valuable information about the relationship between gum disease and problems like diabetes and heart disease. We performed free oral cancer screenings for participants. It was good to spend some time providing a service to people who were interested in their health and well-being.
The best part of the the whole event came at the end of the presentation. I made each of the participants a patriotic ribbon to wear on their shirt. Each person in the room put theirs on. We talked about where we were and what we were doing when the news came that the planes had hit. We talked for several minutes about how we all felt on that day. We talked about other important tragedies of our lifetimes- the ones where you will always remember the details. “Where were you when JFK was shot? Do you remember what you were doing when the Challenger exploded?” I realized that celebrating the anniversary of 9/11 with a day of service and remembrance is exactly the best way to recognize this important day in American history.
What happened between us, as we all shared our memories of that day, was exactly the same as what happened to all of us in the aftermath of 9/11. We shared something important, and it brought us together. What began as a seminar where a doctor was teaching health information to a group of spectators turned into real connection between fellow people. We got to know each other, and we all gave a little bit of our lives to each other. We shared stories and we talked about our families, our lives.
Volunteering today created a connection between people, between fellow Americans and between generations. There is a great reward in being of service to others, and it doesn’t have anything to do with feeling benevolent and it doesn’t have anything to do with points on a score card for good deeds. The reward that comes with being of service is in the heart, when the people you meet and make a connection with share a little piece of their lives with you, that is what you get out of being of service. I can’t wait to do it again!