Patriot Day is held on September 11 each year. Owing to its significance, many simply refer to Patriot Day by its date: September 11, or 9/11. It is an annual observance, but not a national holiday. Schools and businesses are open, however, it is common for commemorative ceremonies to take place.
It’s important to note that Patriot Day is not the same as Patriots’ or Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
What Happened on September 11
On September 11, 2001, 19 Islamist extremists hijacked 4 planes in a series of attacks orchestrated by Al-Quaeda, resulting in 2,977 people being killed in the attacks and thousands more being injured. Among those killed were hundreds of police officers and firefighters carrying out rescue efforts. It is largely considered to be the worst terrorist incident in history.
The timeline of events is documented as follows:
At 8.46 a.m., the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center, New York.
At 9.03 a.m. the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, crashed into the south tower.
By 10.30 a.m., both towers had collapsed, killing fleeing workers and first responders.
At 9.37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, Virginia, killing workers in the building and all on board.
Passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, suspected to be heading for Washington D.C., try to regain control of the plane. In the ensuing struggle, it crashed into a field near Shanskville, Pennsylvania, at 10.03 a.m., killing all on board.
At 5.20 p.m, Seven World Trade Center collapsed, but no deaths were reported.
On September 14th 2001, The President of the United States of America at that time, George W. Bush, declared a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.
National 9/11 Memorial, New York City
How to Observe Patriot Day
People observe a moment of silence at 8.46 a.m. and at other times, which mark the main events of the day. Many travel to the National 9/11 Memorial and other memorial sites in order to honor the victims and lay flowers. Churches also hold remembrance services in key areas. As a mark of respect to honor those who lost their lives and their loved ones, a common quote associated with Patriot Day has come to be “We will never forget”, or simply, "never forget".
Each year, the President issues a proclamation to direct citizens to participate in appropriate activities in honor of the victims. It also instructs all Federal facilities and citizens around the world to fly the United States flag at half-mast, from sunrise to sunset.
There are also volunteer and service opportunities in local communities, particularly to provide support and assistance to veterans and survivors. Organizations specific to 9/11 include MyGoodDeed, which founded the now federally recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
On August 21st, there is the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, which recognizes and honors the victims and survivors of terrorism.