ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Seventeen years have passed since nearly 3,000 men, women and children died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard Flight 93. In what has become a repeated remembrance, people across the country have found different ways to honor the lives lost and those forever changed on September 11, 2001.

Here, in North Texas, we have Freedom Day, a series of community events hosted by Communities Foundation of Texas for Business.

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At the Arlington Life Shelter, for example, people painted walls and prepared meals for those in need; in part, because of the number of veterans battling homelessness. (According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 40,000 veterans on a single night in January 2017 experienced homelessness.)

In Dallas people congregated at the National Cemetery, with buckets and scrub brushes in hand, surrounded by rows of graves filled with the fallen, to clean headstones, or maybe more accurately put, to pay their respects.

“I probably have eight or 10 friends out here, I don’t know exactly,” said Jack Lewis, a veteran whose service brought him to England, France and Germany. Set to turn 100 years old in October, he says his memory is too far gone to share thoughts about those here, in the ground, around him.

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He, however, remembers 9/11.

“Other than war tragedies, it is probably the greatest tragedy of our nation,” Lewis said.

Not far away, at roughly the same time, women penned handwritten letters, not from a script, rather from the heart.

When asked what she hopes the recipients feel when they go to open the letter in a faraway land, Janiece Evans-Page, a volunteer and Dallas resident said, “I hope they know what they do every day matters, not by a few of us, but for all of us. And I hope they also feel loved.”

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The letters were dropped in roughly 1,000 packages filled with hygiene products and snacks in a neighboring room. They are slated for shipment to service members overseas.