Patriot Day observances honor lost lives

By Lance Cpl. Andy J. Orozco, Marine Corps Air Station New River


With screams in the air, debris all around and confusion rampant, Sept. 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center was a breeding ground for tragedy and fear.

But, it was also where heroes were made. These heroes are remembered for their unselfish, valiant actions to protect those in harm’s way on the annual observance now known as Patriot Day.

On what is known by many Americans as one of the darkest days in our country’s history, Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airlines. Two aircraft crashed in to the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the last crashed in a field in the outskirts of Shanksville, Penn., instead of its intended target, due to the heroism of its brave passengers.

“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts,” said former President George W. Bush.

The lives of almost 3,000 Americans were lost that fateful day. None were exempt from the acts of evil that changed America and its perspective of the world forever.

After the first impact, the New York City Fire Department set out to the site of the attack in order to rescue and recover victims in the towers.

From moments after the first tower was hit, to the time they both collapsed, the first responders were in the twin towers helping people evacuate the buildings and get to safety with no regard for their own lives.

In one day, 343 members of the FDNY paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives to the people they promised to protect, according to the FDNY website.

On Dec. 18, 2001 Congress named the 11th day of September as Patriot Day. Later, in April 2009, President Barack Obama proclaimed Sept. 11 as National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In the presidential proclamation, President Obama called upon Americans to reclaim that spirit of bravery shown by the victims and first responders by serving their communities in any way they can.

“Even the simplest act of kindness can be a way to honor those we have lost, and to help build stronger communities and a more resilient nation,” said President Obama. “By joining together on this solemn anniversary, let us show that America’s sense of common purpose need not be a fleeting moment, but a lasting virtue – not just on one day, but every day.”

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