The world was supposed to end on December 21, 2012.

We’re all still here, but in the months leading up to and following the long-fated day, it has often felt like the end of the world may just be a slower process than expected.

Since this time last year, 12 people were killed by a manic shooter in Aurora, Hurricane Sandy tore apart the East Coast and 26 lives were cut all too short by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Then there was the past week.

There is not a lot I can say about what happened, from bombs to poison to an entire city shutting down, that has not already been said.

On page 11 managing editor Aaron Locke beautifully comments on how this week has tested us, but not broken us.

I hope that the trials the American people have suffered in Boston, Texas, D.C., Aurora, Newtown and the Jersey Shore during the past year are not quickly forgotten.

The emotions of grief, panic and rage that flood conversation should inspire some change in the nation.

The calls for change in politics are not enough. Yes, it is important for the law to reflect the horrific current events that keep shocking our country, but we can start at a more organic level.

In 2009, President Barack Obama christened Sept. 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, a time for Americans to remember their grief and give back to their community.

The generation of students at Mason, including myself, are almost too young to have truly grasped the 9/11 terrorist attacks for their full breadth at the time, but I certainly remember the solidarity that bonded strangers across the USA.

It is time to make that a permanent part of American culture.

Give meaning to your grief by going out of your way to help a stranger. Take pride in your country by displaying the American flag in your home. Become a more integral part of your community by giving back through volunteer work.

The biggest tragedy of all is when the names and faces of the victims fade from our minds, hearts and lives.

Becoming bogged down with the sadness and anger will do no good. The hatred and illness that inspired so many of the lives lost in these tragedies is not something that we can all easily fight against.

But what we can do is become intrinsically better citizens, true Patriots, that spend time and effort giving back to the community.

Activism and participation means more than a tweet, a post or a share. Words are powerful but actions mean so much more.

This past weekend, I spent a few days down at Virginia Beach, where I saw runners carrying the American and Bostonian flags.

Their gesture was simple. Their meaning was powerful.

I hope this newfound sense of American pride and commitment does not slip away as quickly as the lives lost in the many tragedies we’ve suffered.