Patriot Day

Next Monday, 11 September 2023

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-Qaeda, resulting in 2,977 people being killed 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.

timeline 9 11

Consequences of the attacks

Military Action

A week after the attacks, on September 18, President Bush signed a joint resolution "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States." As a result of this joint resolution military action was started in Afghanistan, followed by action in Iraq and Yemen. 

War on Terror

During an address to Congress on September 20, President Bush used the expression "war on terror" to describe the battle against Al-Qaeda and The Taliban. 

Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there.

It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

President Bush called for an international response to the war on terror. His largest ally was UK Prime Minister Tony Blair who supported US military action with British troops. 

The Patriot Act

This act was written up on Oct 26, 2001, in response to the terrorist attack and with the aim of preventing future attacks. The Act had ten sections:

  1. Enhancing domestic security against terrorism
  2. Enhanced surveillance procedures
  3. International money laundering abatement and antiterrorist financing act of 2001 
  4. Protecting the border
  5. Removing obstacles to investigating terrorism
  6. Providing for victims of terrorism, public safety officers, and their families
  7. Increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection
  8. Strengthening the criminal laws against terrorism. 
  9. Improved Intelligence
  10. Miscellaneous

The section 'Enhancing surveillance procedures' was controversial and criticized by many as it allowed The US Government to record and surveil phone and email conversations of US citizens. 

How to Observe Patriot Day

All around the country people observe a moment of silence at 8.46 a.m. Many people also hold a moment of silence at 9.03 a.m, 9.37 a.m, and 10.03 a.m., commemorating each moment that a plane crashed. 

Ground zero 9/11 Memorial
National 9/11 Memorial, New York City

Many people travel to the National 9/11 Memorial and other memorial sites to honor the victims and lay flowers. There is a special ceremony held on Memorial Plaza for the family members of those killed in the attacks, during which the names of the victims are read out. Churches near ground zero also hold remembrance services for the public.

Each year, the President issues a proclamation that citizens should participate in appropriate activities in honor of the victims. It also instructs all Federal facilities and citizens worldwide to fly the United States flag at half-mast, from sunrise to sunset.

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".

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.

Patriot Day
Patriot Day

Patriot Day - Next years

Wednesday, 11 September 2024

Thursday, 11 September 2025

Friday, 11 September 2026

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