Every year on Patriot Day, all American citizens come together to reflect, remember, and honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001; a day when nearly 3,000 people perished during the single largest terrorist attack in American history.
Whether you plan to attend an annual commemoration ceremony or pause for a moment of silence, there are many ways to pay tribute to those who died and to those who sacrificed everything to save lives.
Here are 5 ways you can honor Patriot Day on September 11:
1. Attend a Patriot Day Ceremony
While many towns and cities across America may host their own Patriot Day ceremony, there are a few commemorations held in New York and Pennsylvania where you may join in-person or tune in live on social media. Here are four notable Patriot Day ceremonies and tributes:
- 20th Anniversary Commemoration — The National September 11 Memorial & Museum will host its annual commemoration ceremony on September 11 starting at 8:30 a.m. EST. During this ceremony, family members of 9/11 victims will gather on the Memorial plaza to read aloud the names of those killed in the 9/11 attacks and in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Access to the Memorial will be exclusive to 9/11 family members, but large TV networks such as ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, and The History Channel plan to have live coverage of the commemoration ceremony and various special programming throughout the day.
- Citywide Commemoration — Various cultural institutions throughout New York City will be marking the 20th anniversary of September 11 through exhibitions, dance, recreation, presentations, musical performances, and more. Be sure to check their website for more information on how to tune in virtually or attend in person.
- Tribute in Light — At sundown on September 11, the annual Tribute in Light will illuminate the sky above Ground Zero.
- Flight 93 National Memorial Commemoration — Former President George W. Bush will deliver keynote remarks commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The livestream for that event starts at 9:45 a.m. ET on the Flight 93 National Memorial Facebook Page.
2. Visit a Memorial
There are countless permanent and temporary memorials all across the United States where you can honor those lost in your own, private way. The three national 9/11 memorials include:
Located at the World Trade Center in New York City, the 9/11 Memorial Museum “tells the story of 9/11 through media, narratives, and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts, presenting visitors with personal stories of loss, recovery, and hope.”
Credit: 9/11 Memorial & Museum
All 184 lives lost in the attack on the Pentagon are represented by “Memorial Unit” benches at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. While the memorial is currently closed to visitors, you can listen to an audio tour online, which features a sequential narrative of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon, the history of the Pentagon, and the purpose of the Pentagon Memorial’s design.
3. Participate in a Moment of Silence
Although the most recognized moment of silence occurs at the time the first plane crashed into the first tower, there are six total moments of silence, commemorating each plane crash as well as the moment each tower fell. They are:
- 8:46 a.m. EST: American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
- 9:03 a.m. EST: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
- 9:37 a.m. EST: American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, DC, killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
- 9:59 a.m. EST: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
- 10:07 a.m. EST: United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
- 10:28 a.m. EST: The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses.
4. Listen to the Stories of Those Impacted
As tragic and upsetting as Patriot Day stories are, it’s important to honor the lives lost and the people who were impacted by listening to their stories. Here are three videos featuring first-hand experiences, audio, and video from that day:
TSA — 9/11: As Events Unfold
Watch the events of 9/11 as they unfolded through actual audio of first responders, air traffic controllers, dispatch personnel, airline employees, pilots, citizens, and terrorists.
The Oprah Winfrey Network — A New York City Firefighter Remembers 9/11
Listen to FDNY Firefighter John Morabito’s heartwrenching, first-hand story from September 11th, where he was the only firefighter in the lobby of the South Tower to survive the collapse of the building.
LADbible — 9/11: Survivors’ Stories from That Day
Hear from the people who witnessed the attacks and get insight into the impact that fateful day continues to have on them.
5. Lower Flags in Remembrance
As a gesture of remembrance, businesses and individuals are encouraged to lower flags to half-staff on the anniversary of 9/11 from sunrise to sunset. If your flagpole does not have a way to be lowered, consider adding a black mourning ribbon.
By participating in this annual day of remembrance and taking moments of silence, we continue to honor our vow to “Never Forget” not just the pain of that moment, but also the courage, sacrifice, and outpouring of love that came after.