Patriot Day was created through a proclamation (Public Law 107-89) by President George Bush after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. The day is in memory of the nearly 3000 who lost their lives at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. President Bush has made the resolution and proclamation to designate September 11 as Patriot Day each year since 2002. The legislation requests that President designate September 11 as Patriot Day each year. The day is a discretionary day of remembrance – which means it is not an official public holiday.

How Patriot Day is observed depends on your location. US flags are to be flown at half-staff and flown from residences as well (that includes US buildings abroad as well). Now, here’s where location will make a difference. Americans are asked to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46am (EDT) to mark the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City. A moment of silence could also be held at 9:03am (EDT) when the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the second tower of the World Trade Center, at 9:43am (EDT) when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon or at 10:10am (EDT) when United Airlines Flight 93 went down in a field near Shanksville, PA.

Initially the day was called the “National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks.” Then changed to Patriot Day by a by Joint Resolution 71 which was approved in the US House by a 407 – 0 vote (25 members didn’t vote) on October 25, 2001 and approved unanimously by the US Senate on November 30, 2001. President Bush signed the resolution into law on December 18, 2001.

People have had some trouble wrapping their thoughts around Patriot Day – with most referring to the day as 9-11 or September 11th instead. Another problem with the day is that it is often confused with Patriots’ Day (one has an ‘s’ and one doesn’t). Patriots’ Day is observed on the third Monday in April and is a civic holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. It is also a public school observance day in Wisconsin. Patriots’ Day has nothing to do with Patriot Day.

Canada shares the observance of Patriot Day as well with flags on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and all Canadian diplomatic missions in the US flying at half-staff.

For more – check out these sites –
Enduring Freedom
Never Forget
United We Stand Tribute Pages

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Flag ceremony photograph courtesy of