Patriot Day falls on 11th September (also commonly known as ‘Nine-Eleven’) and is remembered globally as the anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist attacks on the USA of 11th September 2001.

Learn about Patriot Day

Embedded in the memories of everyone who lived through it, this was the day four jet planes were hijacked and crashed into the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, causing the deaths of 2,977 people. The fourth plane (United Airlines Flight 93) was directed at Washington DC, but its passengers bravely attempted to take back control and it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The large majority of those lost after the attacks on the Twin Towers were working at or above the points of collision; thousands of people who had gone to work that morning like every other day, found themselves suddenly stranded at the top of a burning skyscraper.  A number made the choice to jump from the flaming buildings rather than wait to be caught by the flames or for the building to collapse. No one could forget the terrifying and heartbreaking stories and images captured by the news footage of the day.

In the wake of the World Trade Center collisions, many brave men and women from the emergency services risked their lives to try to help rescue victims of the attacks, and of them 411 lost their own lives attempting to fight fires and rescue people.

History of Patriot Day

Patriot Day is recognized by US law as the official day of remembrance for these tragic events, and has been observed every year since. Each year on this day, American flags are flown at half-staff to honour and commemorate those lives lost. The US President asks fellow Americans to observe a moment of silence at 8.46am (Eastern Daylight Time), the time of the first plane collision into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

While the events took place within the USA, the shock and grief experienced in response to the attacks was shared across the globe, and for this reason Patriot Day will be observed not only in America, but all over the world.

How to observe Patriot Day

There are a number of ways that you can observe Patriot Day. One way is by paying honor to those who were on the ground on September 11th, as well as those that lost their lives. There are a number of different ways that you can do this. Thanks to the Internet, we are able to reach out to people that we never would have been able to, and so you can always post a message on social media. 

If you don’t know much about the attacks because you were too young at the time, it is a good idea to spend some time doing a bit of research about the occasion. On this date, four airliners carrying passengers, which were bound for California from northeastern airports in the United States, were hijacked by terrorists of al-Qaeda (19 in total).

Two of the planes crashed into the North and South twin towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. This was United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11. Both of the 110 story towers collapsed within an hour and 42 minutes. All of the other buildings in the World Trade Center complex collapsed either partially or completely because of the resulting fires and debris.

The third plane crashed into the Pentagon. This was American Airlines Flight 77. This resulted in the west side of the headquarters for the United States Department of Defense collapsing partially. The fourth plane was flown in the direction of Washington D.C. This was United Airlines Flight 93. However, passengers thwarted the hijackers, and the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, potentially saving many lives. 

There is a great film that focuses on the fourth flight – United Airlines Flight 93. The film is called United 93, and it was released in 2006. The film aims to take you through the events of what happened on the plane, focusing on the passengers responding to the hijackers in order to direct the plane away from Washington D.C. The film received critical acclaim, winning a number of awards.

The film is a great watch. It shows how the passengers came together to revolt against the hijackers, despite knowing that their lives were at very high risk. While they ultimately lost their lives in the end, they stopped the terrorists from reaching their intended target, saving many more lives in the process. 

It is also a good idea to use this day to pay honor to the people who died on the 11th of September. This not only includes those on board the aircrafts, but those who died as a consequence of the collapsing buildings and the brave men and women who risked their lives to try and help those in danger. In total, 2,977 victims died on this day, with there being more than 6,000 injuries. Most of the people who died were civilians. However, there were also 71 law enforcement officers who died and 343 firefighters. Why not spend some time reading up on them to show that we will never forget!

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