September 11th, 2001 became a day of remembering the attacks in the United States. Originally, it was called Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on 9/11/2001.
On December 18th, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Day into law as a holiday to pray for the dead and their families, as well as all the protectors (military, law enforcement, intelligent communities, etc.) of United States communities. It is not a federal holiday, meaning that the regular schedule for schools, banks, post offices, etc. continues.
Some of the traditional observances are:
- Keeping a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. (EST). That is the time the 1st plane struck the twin towers.
- Flying the American flag at half mast.
- Laying flowers at attacked sites.
- Visiting memorials of those sites, and victims who died.
- Giving donations to families of the victims.
- Prayer vigilance, for world peace, the deceased, the terrorists, etc.
- Attending music events (rock concerts) in honor of those harmed. The money from the concerts is donated to help some cause associated with 9/11.
- Attending a military flyover.
However the date is observed, it is the remembering that counts.
Most of the captions on images from 9/11 have to do with remembering. They are; 9/11 Patriot Day Always Remember, In Loving Memory 9/11/2001, Never Surrender 911 Never Forget, and We Will Never Forget. No matter where United States citizens were on that fateful day, they do remember.
My memory is quite strong, because I wasn't in the East where the attacks took place, so I was monitoring the news extensively at my workplace. Also, one of my daughters was returning from a year of living in Australia: we hadn't seen each other in a year. That was extremely frightening because her flight was stopped in Kuala Lumpur, where she spent the night. Then when she arrived in LA, her flight to Denver was cancelled and she had to spend the night in LA. It was very worrisome, yet no comparison to those who were attacked. I'm just sharing my memory of the time. I also had a sister in Italy who couldn't get back in the states.
The term patriot has meaning to many of us. Urban Dictionary has a few definitions from readers. "Originally, a patriot was someone who loves their country and supports it, but won't blindly follow whatever their country's government does. These days, it is synonymous with Nationalist which is someone who blindly follows whatever his country's government does, and lacks his own ability to think and reason for himself." The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (tenth edition) defines it as "one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests." Both are apropos to the present time in history.
Another holiday that is similar in name is Patriots Day. This is a commemorative time of battles from the American Revolutionary War (Lexington and Concord in 1775). It is observed on the third Monday in April, making a three day week-end. Traditional sporting events are usually held, and reenactments of the battles are commonplace. Of course, Patriot Day is quite different and new. Patriots Day became a legal holiday in 1969.
May we all have a peaceful September 11th observance.