Celebrating Patriot Day
September 11th is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that shook the United States to the core. However, out of tragedy, a true sense of character emerged. The American people rallied like never before to assist their friends, neighbors, and in so many cases, people they had never met. For these reasons, September 11th has been designated as a discretionary day of remembrance.
On September 11, 2001, four commercial aircraft were hijacked with intent to strike multiple high-profile buildings on the East Coast of the United States. One plane crashed deliberately into the World Trade Center North Tower. One plane crashed deliberately into the World Trade Center South Tower, and one plane crashed deliberately into the Pentagon building. The last craft, whose passengers had heard of the other attacks through phone calls, attempted to seize control of the plane from the hijackers, causing the hijackers to crash the plane into an empty field in Pennsylvania, rather than the planned target in Washington D.C.
What followed these attacks was an incredible response by government officials, local emergency response personnel, and the American public. Evacuation, rescue, and recovery efforts began immediately, with multiple agencies pulling on all of their resources, as well as a vast pool of volunteers, to rescue victims and mitigate as much damage as possible. While many were successfully evacuated, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives on that day, including emergency responders who tirelessly worked to save as many as they could.
As the days passed after the attack, the true American spirit was further revealed. Even as they were working to pick up the pieces of shattered lives, those affected found new faith in the goodness of mankind. Dedicated friends, family, and even strangers were an endless source of compassion for those who lost loved ones, providing help in the rebuilding efforts, and strength to confront their altered lives. By helping fortify those who faced this tragedy most directly, the American people reaffirmed their refusal to be beaten down. From the inception of the United States to our most recent horrors, the American people stand tall with strength, determination, and pride in the face of adversity.
A national day of remembrance was signed into law on December 18th, 2001, and designated as Patriot Day on September 4th, 2002, to be marked by flying the American flag at half-staff and a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), which was the time of the first plane crash. Many communities also observe this day with candlelight vigils and special religious services.
As much as Patriot Day is marked by tragedy, it also represents the best of the American people. For all those who worked selflessly to help those around them, for our emergency workers, for all the individuals from coast to coast who rallied to assist people they had never met, as well as all those who found their families and lives in ruin and yet picked up the pieces to rebuild with grace, Patriot Day honors you all.
Click here to read some great quotes such as:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."