When is Patriot Day?
September 11, 2001 was named the day “we will never forget.” After the terrorist attacks on the occurred on that day, Americans have regarded every September 11th as Patriot Day. This holiday is often referred to as 9/11.
The events of September 11th caught the world by surprise. The United States, arguably the most powerful country in the world, was attacked on its own soil by Islamic extremists who hijacked commercial aircraft. These terrorists simultaneously took over four airplanes. The first crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. local time. Another plane struck the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. The Pentagon was terrorized in similar fashion, although only a small portion of the building was destroyed in comparison to the Twin Towers. The fourth plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania – it was concluded that passengers on board that plane took over from the hijackers before they had a chance to strike another American landmark.
9/11 was devastating in numerous ways. The total loss of life is an estimated 3,000 people. Economically, the U.S. was in shambles as the country was taken aback in terror. The tragic events also forever changed western relations with Middle Eastern nations.
The World Trade Center was the center of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Not only was the greatest loss of life experienced at the Twin Towers, but the structures themselves were also completely destroyed. An estimated 20 additional victims were miraculously pulled out of the rubble, and the entire cleanup didn’t finish until the end of May, 2002.
The way the holiday is celebrated is similar to that of Pearl Harbor Day in that it is more of a day for observation than a cause for celebration. While Patriot Day is an important holiday in the United States, it isn’t considered a government holiday like Independence Day. Unless September 11th falls on a weekend day, then this means that all schools, banks and government institutions all remain open. However, most institutions hold moments of silence to recognize when each of the two planes hit the World Trade Center, as well as when the other two planes crashed into Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.
In addition to moments of silence, the President always orders that the American flag be flown on all government buildings at half-mast. Americans across the country may also choose to wave flags at their homes or places of business, as well as on their person.
Patriot Day is even more personal for survivors and relatives of those lost on September 11th. Those affected may travel to the sites of the crashes to lay flowers and pay tribute to those who died that day.
Ground Zero is now a memorial and museum at the site of the former World Trade Center. This not only gives people the option to pay tribute to the lives lost on 9/11, but visitors from around the world can come and tour the museum, which gives a full history of the Twin Towers. The original towers opened in 1973, and were an iconic symbols until their ultimate demise in 2001.
Note: Patriot Day is not the same holiday as Patriot’s Day. Also celebrated in the United States, Patriot’s Day is held every third Monday in April. It commemorates the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord fought near Boston, which helped the U.S. gain independence from Great Britain. The two holidays are celebrated for different reasons, and are completely separate from one another.