(CNN) –On the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama each take the stage to discuss service and civic engagement in a forum at Columbia University.
What do you think of their ideas? How does the role of service determine what kind of nation we live in? What does national service mean to you?
Along with CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin, and Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, thousands of you weighed in.
Click "comments" below for a look at the entire conversation.
Roland, you are the only sane person commenting tonight.
It has been my experience that most volunteers are every day people. Most who can't afford to do it really but their hearts are meant for helping people. I volunteer with 4H and our county fair and I really can't afford to take the time to do it most of the time but I am led to do it and that is what service is all about. Feeling led to make someone's life better by volunteering and helping.
Don't woryy Roland, when Barack gets on the stage, the marshmallow stuff is gonna go out the back door.
R.T. – good point.
Schneider, this experience thing if it works is just crazy. Experience is not the hope of change. The question I would ask is what were you doing all those 30 years, why now?
If we wanted to defend ourselves, what are we doing in Irag. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11
Good point Roland!!!!!
Good Point Roland! Bill, why are the Republicans changing their tune. I think it was a popular mayor who said, community organizers aren't qualified for making the change this country needs!!!!
Please tell me McCain didn't just bring up the POW story again. I'm so tired of the POW story. And now watch - he's going to try and get out of saying that he's in favor of the draft.
That is an amazing stat. The number enlisting with no high school diploma. I am amazed. This is a great question for McCain and I am very interested in hearing his experties. His knowledge on this issue would be great for this question.
What’s amazing to me is that everyone is swaying their vote on a speech the Sara didn’t even write.
Great -A match made in heaven.
Its having difficulty retaining soldiers because they are fighting meaningless wars.
Good question about why the upper echlon of society don't have children serving, ie Why didn't George Bush children go into military service, it is open to women.
We need to take the military recruiters out of our schools and put college recruiters in.
Sarah Palin is an IDIOT. She stated the country of Georgia is a member of NATO. HELLO!! no they're not. She wants to be VP???!!! Wake up America!
A plea to the media – please focus on the issues concerning this country and stop using what little time we have talking about lipstick, pigs and trivial stuff like that. We have a lot of problems that need to be addressed – and only a few weeks to find out what the candidates propose to do about them. Unfortunately, a lot of people in this country get distracted by the tabloid stuff – if it wasn't out there 24/7 then maybe more people would educate themselves on what's wrong and how we can come together and solve the problems we are facing. I think that is not only your job but your duty.
Okay: the fourth time: Is CNN going to post each candidate's policy paper on service as it has been posted on Mark Halperin's The Page. This is the "service" you should be providing voters who want to be educated.
Roland, you are cracking me up. I am only here to see if Obama will DEFINE community organizer in a way that smacks back at RNC/Palin for knocking him last week. It is stunning to me that this race is close. Economically, the polls should be 98% Obama – 2% McCain. Why people CHOOSE to let Repubs define them by wedge issues is beyond me?
Did it just get 'drafty' in here? Did anyone else see him squirm in his chair?
I agree with you Roland. As a 16 year veteran with many gay and lesbian friends, I would have been honored to serve next to them. I would get back in, in a minute if that happened, even though I would have to go enlisted this time.
He is talking about incentives, why did he refuse the pay and benefits at this last vote????
Talk about national service, can someone tell me how Palin son a PFC went from boot camp, infantry training, to guarding the brigade commander? But yet the Army said there will be special considerations.
Ok is it just me or does Palin scare anyone else?
Yes recruiting has gotten harder.....I was stop lossed (happily to a degree) and I would love to see elected official's kids serve. Should be mandatory if you are forcing others to go in your stead.
I'm still waiting on a real discussion of service Seems like they don't even want to mention the title "community organizer." When Senator McCain discussed the volunteers following Hurricane Katrina, did not someone have to organize them?? Hmmmm?
I'm with Roland. I don't get this forum either.
I was in Americorp in college and volunteered 900 hours every year as requirement of my "free" tuition via a academic scholarship.
I still volunteer in my children's school and in my community every summer to raise money to provide school supplies for needy children.
Average Americans volunteer in less informal ways by helping out a neighbor, etc.
What American's need is for our work hours to become less demanding and life a little bit easier so more people have the time and freedom to use a few hours a week to give a helping hand to others via the cause/organization of their choice.
I find it fascinating that McCain keeps reinforcing that it took his POW experience to get him to realize that he loved his country and wanted to serve. Obama managed to figure it out without 5 years of torture – he just knew it was the right thing to do. I am not in any way diminishing his service, just trying to point out what I see as a character flaw.