Today is Patriot Day, a time to remember the tragic events of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This solemn day honors not only the nearly 3,000 innocent victims who lost their lives, but also those who heroically rushed to help. In New York City, the National September 11 Memorial opened in 2011, and is an inspirational tribute with the names of all those who died inscribed into bronze panels. Twin reflecting pools edge the Memorial and are perpetually replenished by the world’s largest man-made waterfalls. A museum is now open, which not only pays homage to the victims, but also educates visitors and helps build hope for a future without such devastation.
Our country’s efforts to remember 9/11 reach beyond the Memorial. In 2002, it was declared that flags across the country should be flown at half-mast every September 11th, and Americans are encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 am EDT. Other ceremonies of remembrance are held nationwide, such as candlelight vigils and prayer services. School children mark the day by learning about the tragedy, and participating in projects, essays, and memorial events. Declared a “National Day of Service and Remembrance” in 2009, Americans are urged to reach out to others wherever possible with community service. By helping others, we succeed in not only paying tribute to the victims and responders, but also in building a stronger, closer nation.