Patriot Day – Honoring the Memory of Those Who Died on 9/11

When you hear the phrase “Patriot Day,” what comes to mind for you?

Some people may think first of Patriots Day, the movie. This 2016 film starred Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg was the director. It’s the story of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and its aftermath. Including the citywide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.

Others might think of Patriots’ Day. It’s a formal state holiday in Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin and Connecticut. It occurs on the third Monday in April each year. It commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord – the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

Patriots’ Day is celebrated most enthusiastically in Massachusetts. That’s where it coincides with the Boston Marathon and a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

From Proclamation to Resolution to Law

But Patriot Day (not Patriots’) occurs annually on September 11 to honor those killed in the terrorist attacks of 2001. The first official Patriot Day was commemorated on September 11, 2002.

Originally, President George W. Bush proclaimed September 14, 2001 as a “National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.”

The following month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to make September 11 a national day of mourning. In November, the bill passed the Senate.

In December 2001, Bush signed this resolution into law. The following year, he used the authority of the resolution to proclaim September 11, 2002 as the first “Patriot Day.”

Prayer, Service and Remembrance

From 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed September 11 as “Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.” This was in observance of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act.

In 2017, President Donald Trump changed it up a little. He proclaimed September 8-10 as “National Days of Prayer and Remembrance,” and proclaimed September 11 as “Patriot Day.”

Patriot Day is not a federal holiday. Schools and businesses are open in observance of the occasion.

Half-Staff Flags, Moments of Silence

Certain commemorative rites are performed on Patriot Day each year, with rules in place to ensure uniformity. For example, memorial ceremonies are held for the 9/11 victims in different places.

Service opportunities in a number of communities are coordinated by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

U.S. flags are flown at half-staff at the White House and all government buildings and establishments around the world. Americans are also encouraged to fly U.S. flags at their homes.

A moment of silence is observed beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time. That was the time American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Recalling the Shock, Grief and Anger

Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Seventeen years later, those memories are still fresh in many of our minds. Our emotions rode a wave of astonishment that turned to grief, which evolved into anger.

We were stunned that anyone could commit such a horrendous act of hatred. And we were determined to ensure that the animals responsible for planning the attack be brought to justice.

Taking Time to Reflect

Now, we want to make sure nothing like this ever occurs again. And we want to remember the victims from that fateful day.

Today we should all take a moment to reflect on what happened. Our thoughts and prayers should be with the families of those victims.

And we should look for ways to serve those less fortunate than ourselves.

That’s what Patriot Day is all about.

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