Patriot Day

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Patriot Day (September 11 Day)

September 11
Patriot Day in the United States commemorates the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, in New York City, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; and in the skies above Shanksville, Penn. On that day, hijackers associated with the al Qaeda terrorist organization commandeered four commercial airliners and planned to intentionally crash them into several sites. They flew two of the planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and one into the Pentagon in the nation's capital. The fourth plane, which was believed to be headed either to the White House or to the U.S. Capitol, crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania after passengers on the plane figured out the hijackers' intentions and resisted them.
As designated by an act of Congress in December 2001, each year the president proclaims a day of national observance in memory of the more than 2,700 people who lost their lives in the attacks. Throughout the nation, flags are flown at half-staff and a moment of silence is observed at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time, the exact moment the first plane flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Observances take place at each of the three sites of attack. In New York, the site of the greatest loss of life, a memorial service takes place during the morning of September 11 each year; moments of silence are observed at the exact times that the planes crashed into the towers and that the towers collapsed. Surviving family members recite the names of the deceased. On the evening of September 11, a light display known as the Tribute in Light fills the sky with beams of light in the space formerly taken up by the World Trade Center towers. In Washington, D.C., victims of the attacks are remembered at a public wreath-laying ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery as well as a private ceremony at the Pentagon for family and friends of those who died. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a memorial service is also held near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93, the only hijacked aircraft that did not reach its intended target. The ceremony in Pennsylvania includes tolling of the bells and reading a list of victims.
In addition to the services planned at the sites of the attacks, memorial tributes are held throughout the United States, particularly at state and municipal government buildings, public safety offices, and fire stations. These events typically include patriotic remarks, observance of moments of silence, and wreath-laying ceremonies.
Office of the Mayor
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
212-639-9675; fax: 212-788-2460
Flight 93 National Memorial
National Park Service
109 W. Main St., Ste. 104
Somerset, PA 15501-2035
814-443-4557; fax: 814-443-2180
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211
PatHols-2006, p. 227
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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