Sept. 11th, 2001, was a clear, ordinary day like every previous day before, yet at 8:46 A.M., the North Tower of the World Trade Center was hit by American Airline Flight 11, sending a ripple of shock across the nation. For the next seventeen minutes, the minds of those watching asked themselves if this was horrible accident or a mechanical malfunction of the aircraft’s controls that caused it to fly into North Tower.

At 9:03 A.M., a second airline, Flight 175, flew into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and panic and terror gripped the country. America was under attack.

The attacks would continue, with a third airline, Flight 77, crashing into the Pentagon at 9:37 A.M. The fourth and final hijacked airline, Flight 93, would never reach its intended target (either the White House or Capitol Building), and crashed in Shanksville, PA, as the passengers gave their lives to save countless others in a selfless sacrifice. The Twin Towers collapsed later that morning.

Since the tragedy of 9/11, the day has become known as Patriot Day, in remembrance of the fallen military, civilian and first responders who were killed and injured. The history of Patriot Day began in the aftermath of the attacks, on September 13, when President George W. Bush proclaimed September 14, a Friday, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the attacks on 9/11.

In the following year and approaching the first anniversary, on August 31, 2002, President Bush declared that September 6 through September 8 would be National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. On September 4 that same year, President Bush dubbed September 11 as the first Patriot Day, a tradition upheld and made official on Sept. 9, 2016, when President Barack Obama proclaimed September 11 to be Patriot Day as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. President Donald Trump would follow his predecessors, proclaiming September 8-10 as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance and declaring September 11 as Patriot Day.

Patriot Day is a day of prayer and remembrance for those we lost that September day and to mourn with the numerous families who lost their loved ones in the Towers, Flights and Pentagon.

We will never forget.

Writer: Alexander S. Boucher

Editor: Katherine Berman

Researcher: Lia Sansoucy

Graphic Designer: Katie Rahill

Volunteers from across the U.S. gathered in 65 VA national cemeteries for a National Day of Service Sept. 10. The cleaning efforts included thousands of volunteers cleaning tens of thousands of graves, including 47 killed Sept. 11, 2001.Volunteers clean national cemeteries for National Day of Service Sept. 10
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