“Thirteen years have passed since we endured the worst terrorist attack in our Nation’s history…On this observance of Patriot Day 2014, we ask that each of you continue to honor the legacy of the victims who lost their lives that day. We also ask that you continue in your unwavering support for our Soldiers, Veterans, Families and Civilians who help keep America safe and secure” – document signed by General Raymond T. Odierno, John M. McHugh, U.S. Army Chief of Staff and Raymond F. Chandler, Sergeant Major of the Army.
Patriot Day is observed in the U.S. as the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 of each year. It is held in memory of the 2,977 killed in the attacks by Islamic extremists on September, 11, 2001. President G.W. Bush signed a resolution on December 18, 2001, naming Sept. 11 as Patriot Day. The resolution “requires the president to issue a proclamation each year and order flags lowered to half-staff in observance of the day.” However, it is not one of the ten official federal holidays. President Obama signed his “Presidential Proclamation — Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2014” on Sept. 10, 2014.
Patriot Day is not to be confused with Patriot’s Day, which is a holiday in Massachusetts and Maine that commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
There is an official webpage for Sept. 11, 2001 where you can “Share your good deed or heartfelt message”. In addition, there is a U.S. Government webpage where you can find different kinds of service opportunities within your geographic location.
Here in Austin, Texas, three events were scheduled to honor Sept. 11, 2001. An annual memorial service was held at the Buford Fire Tower to remember firefighters who lost their lives. The tower is a six-story high tower built in 1930 “to provide the Austin Fire Department with a “high rise” building on which to train.” Although it has not changed in structure, it now acts as a carillon and plays chimes on each hour of the day.
The Austin Firefighter Department conducted their 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, wherein firefighters in full gear climbed continuously (up and down) the stairs of the six-story Pleasant Valley Drill Tower (which replaced the firefighters’ outdated use of the Buford Tower) enough times to equal to the height (1,368 feet) of the former World Trade Center.
And finally, the Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association (ESPADA), performed at the Capitol Rotunda of the Texas State Capitol. This is an Austin-based musical group “created to honor fire fighters, police, and paramedics that died in the line of duty.”
Providing his sentiments about Sept. 11, 2001, with which many of us agree, Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez reminded us “that time doesn’t heal”. He said, “The feeling you get in your gut, the thoughts that go through your head, you just can’t imagine the tragedy that – the enormity of the tragedy – that day and it’s important to remember.”
You can follow and stay up-to-date on what you would like to do as a volunteer to honor September 11 Day of Service and Remembrance on Twitter: @nationalservice, @ServeDotGov, and @911day; or on Facebook.
In the mean time, all of us all will “Never forget!”