NATIONAL DAY OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Mr. PRYOR. Madam President, I rise today with great pleasure to commend an exceptional group of my constituents and acknowledge September 12, 2007, as the National Day of Encouragement. The concept behind the National Day of Encouragement was developed in June 2007 as part of the National Leadership Forum at Harding University in Searcy, AR.
The National Leadership Forum, NLF, was composed of a group of enterprising high school students from around the country who were challenged to think of constructive ways to help their respective schools. One group said that discouragement or ``the lack of encouragement'' was the biggest problem they faced in school as well as in society today. From there, the idea of an official Day of Encouragement as a possible solution was born.
According to Andrew Baker, the codirector of NLF, the students chose September 12 as the National Day of Encouragement in hopes of ``balancing the discouraging feelings of 9/11''. The goal was to ``challenge people not to just think about the idea of encouragement but to do something that will encourage someone else.''
Since the conception of the National Day of Encouragement, grassroots efforts have been working towards creating a real sense of encouragement in cities, schools, places of employment, and homes. Even the smallest gesture such as a smile, a pat on the back, or a kind word, has the ability to communicate love and compassion that can raise spirits and spur motivation, especially on a day like September 12.
Americans have endured great hardship and heartbreak as a result of the terrorist attacks, but this has not broken our faith, courage and an unshakable commitment to freedom, democracy and, most importantly, each other. Yesterday, we remembered the tragedy of September 11, and we honored its victims. Today, we honor the victims again by remembering the sacrifices made by thousands of Americans to help the victims of the attacks and their families. Their acts of kindness and generosity inspired and encouraged the entire Nation.
I encourage my fellow colleagues, citizens of all ages, as well as those in schools, organizations, businesses, and media outlets, to encourage others on this day, through an act of service, a thoughtful letter, or words of kindness and inspiration to thereby boost the overall morale of all.
I would also like to commend the extraordinary group of high school students who participated in the National Leadership Forum this year. They have shown the ability to analyze critical issues with insight and intellect, and it is an honor to stand here before you today and recognize all of them and their accomplishments.
I yield the floor.