"Regaining Our State of Unitedness: Lessons from the 9/11 tragedy," The nonprofit 9/11 Day, which founded and annually organizes the federally recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, announced that it has launched a nationwide television, radio and social media public service campaign, entitled “State of Unitedness,” which urges Americans to work together to resolve differences. Credit: 911day.org

As the nation prepares to observe the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a nonprofit founded by the brother of a Long Islander killed at Ground Zero has launched a public service campaign designed to promote unity in the divided nation.

The campaign, launched by the group 9/11 Day, which organizes the annual September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, includes television and radio ads that feature 21 survivors of the attack, family members, first responders, recovery workers, veterans and Gold Star military families. 

They include Jay Winuk, co-founder of 9/11 Day, whose brother, Glenn Winuk, a 19-year volunteer firefighter with the Jericho Fire Department, was killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Also featured in the campaign is John Feal, of Commack, a demolition supervisor who was seriously injured during the rescue effort; Will Jimeno, a former Port Authority police officer who was buried for 13 hours beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center; and Chief Terri Tobin, a NYPD officer injured in the attacks.

"As a country, when our resolve is tested, we find a way to put aside our ideologies, religion and our politics and we come together," said Feal, who now leads the Nesconset-based FealGood Foundation, which advocates for other Ground Zero first responders. "And while I think humanity is being tested right now, it's there when we need it."

"As a country, when our resolve is tested, we find...

"As a country, when our resolve is tested, we find a way to put aside our ideologies, religion and our politics and we come together," said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, which advocates for Ground Zero first responders. He is standing in front of the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park in Nesconset on April 29, 2021. Credit: Barry Sloan

The ad campaign, entitled “State of Unitedness,” features the Bruce Springsteen Sept. 11-themed song "The Rising" and can be viewed on 9/11 Day’s YouTube Channel. The campaign urges Americans to work together to resolve their political and socio-economic differences and to rekindle the spirit of unity felt across the nation, and throughout the globe, in the wake of the attacks. 

Jay Winuk recalled that for a brief period of time after the attacks, Americans came together with a single mission.

"We're a country that goes better when we celebrate our differences and work out things peacefully and realize that we're kind of all in this together," he said. "And there are differences, and it's part of what makes a great democracy. But we need to get together more like we did after 9/11. And it shouldn't take a tragedy to do that."

When the first plane hit the north tower, Glenn Winuk, 40, an attorney in a law firm nearby, helped evacuate the building he was working in, then rushed toward the chaos. He died when the south tower collapsed. Six months later, his remains were found next to those of other would-be rescuers.

Over the past 21 years, Jay Winuk and David Paine, co-founder of 9/11 Day, have turned the anniversary of the attacks into the nation’s largest annual day of charitable service and volunteerism. 

As part of the public service campaign, 9/11 Day sent letters Tuesday to the respective chairs of the Democratic and Republican National Committees requesting that they, and their House and Senate candidates running in the November midterm election, suspend any planned political ads on Sept. 11, 2022.

"In lieu of such activities, we encourage the DNC/RNC and all candidates to engage in nonpartisan expressions of remembrance, unity, service and prayer that pay tribute to the 9/11 victims, rescue and recovery workers, volunteers and members of our military who rose in service in defense of our nation," the letters read.

The respective committees, Paine said, have yet to respond to the letters.

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