Governor Walker removes Patriot from 9-11 ‘Patriot Day’


Patriot Day is so … patriotic. Maybe a bit too patriotic for Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.

Since 2001, Sept. 11 has been known as Patriot Day, designated first by Congress and President George W. Bush, then by President Barack Obama, and now by President Donald Trump.

Alaska governors also declared Sept. 11 Patriot Day, a day to remember the fallen, the heroes, and to honor the men and women who went to war after the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Many of them are in Afghanistan today in a war that has gone on a long, long time.

This year it’s Patriot Day all over America on Monday. Just not in the 49th State.

Gov. Walker has declared it “September 11 Commemoration Day,” a day where “we as Americans reflect on the importance to our nation of freedom, tolerance, patriotism, diversity, and respect for others, and are grateful for the rights and freedoms that we hold as Americans;”

This word play doesn’t happen by accident. Someone changed it from Patriot Day to Commemoration Day. Someone approved it. And the governor signed it. Did he know that he had taken patriotism out of Patriot Day? Of course he did.

The Walker Administration made a decision to remove not only the overriding concept of patriotism but to erase the emotional reaction Americans have to the horrific attack on our nation, the evil that incited it, and heroism that followed. Now it’s really just about community service.

On the day before our 425th Brigade left Alaska for Afghanistan, as it has done several times before since 9-11, Walker made no mention of the heroism and courage of our men and women in uniform.

Instead, the word “patriotism” was tucked in among politically correct verbiage that completely missed the point of the day: We were attacked. Innocents died. Our freedoms have been curtailed. Our men and women in uniform have fought, been injured, and many have died.

Instead, the Walker proclamation phoned it in with a nearly clinical nod to the most heinous attack on American soil — ever.


Even President Obama understood the meaning of Patriot Day, as evidenced by his eloquent 2015 proclamation:

On September 11, 2001, America experienced the worst terrorist attack in her history when nearly 3,000 men, women, and children were taken from us, leaving their families and our Nation with a void that can never be filled. But those who brought hate to our shores and smoke to our skies did not expect our country to emerge stronger, and our beacons of hope and freedom to shine brighter as a result. In the years since, we have stood strong as one people ‑‑ determined to further embolden our country’s character with acts of endurance and strength; rebuilding and resilience; renewal and progress. In remembrance of the innocent victims who lost their lives and in honor of the families they left behind, let us continue to answer these heinous acts by serving our communities, lifting the lives of our fellow citizens, and spreading the hope that others tried to dim that day.

The compassion that rose in the hearts and minds of the American people on September 11 still serves as the ultimate rebuke to the evil of those who attacked us. First responders who risked and gave their lives to rescue others demonstrated the unwavering heroism that defines our great Nation. Volunteers donated time, money, and blood to ensure wounds gave way to healing and recovery. Young people, raised until then in a time of peace, stepped forward to serve and defend us, and meet the threats of our time. And people from across our country and the world joined together in the days that followed to stand up and turn toward one another with open arms, making of a tragedy something the terrorists could never abide ‑‑ a tribute of hope over fear, and love over hate.

As we reflect on the lives we lost and pay tribute to the families who still live with extraordinary pain, let us resolve to continue embodying the American spirit that no act of terror can ever extinguish. I call on all Americans to observe this National Day of Service and Remembrance with acts of selflessness and charity. In doing so, we prove once again that the power of those who seek to harm and to destroy is never greater than our power to persevere and to build. I encourage everyone to visit to learn of the many opportunities available to give back to others and to reaffirm the fundamental truth that we are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers, and that we can forge a brighter future together.

Today, we continue our unfaltering march forward, enduring in the perennial optimism that drives us and brightening the light that the darkness of evil can never overcome. We remember and yearn for the presence of the beautiful lives lost, and we recommit to honoring their memories by shaping the days to come ‑‑ in as stark a contrast as possible to those who took them from us ‑‑ with courage, liberty, and love…

The words of President Donald Trump’s Patriot Day proclamation are equally moving, and include this passage:

On Patriot Day, we honor the nearly 3,000 innocent lives taken from us on September 11, 2001, and all of those who so nobly aided their fellow citizens in America’s time of need.  We rededicate ourselves to the ideals that define our country and unite us as one, as we commemorate all the heroes who lost their lives saving others.
September 11, 2001, will forever be one of the most tragic days in American history.  Through the unimaginable despair, however, ordinary Americans etched into our history remarkable illustrations of bravery, of sacrifice for one another, and of dedication to our shared values.  The shock from the indelible images of the smoke rising from the World Trade Center and Pentagon gave way to countless inspiring videos of co-workers helping one another to safety; of heroes running into collapsing buildings to save the innocent people trapped within; and to the unforgettable story of the patriots who charged the cockpit of Flight 93 to save untold numbers of lives.  These heroes moved us with their bravery.  They make us proud to be Americans. 


Not mentioned by Gov. Walker’s proclamation was any recognition that this week, more than 2,000 Alaska-based soldiers are deploying  to Afghanistan from the U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based at JBER.

That is nearly double what was anticipated to be deployed just a few months ago. Spartan Brigade personnel will be assisting the Afghanistan Security Forces. The unit has not been sent to Afghanistan since 2011-12. Each one of those soldiers has a family who worries.

During a deployment ceremony on Friday, Sen. Dan Sullivan spoke to the troops in the most heartfelt terms:

“There was nothing — and I mean nothing — that was going to keep me away from attending this deployment ceremony of the 425.

“I am so proud of this unit. Each one of you has done what less than 1 percent of all Americans do, and that is raise your right hand voluntarily to support and defend the Constitution and protect your fellow Americans, and we cannot thank you enough.”

“We all know that the best units get the toughest missions,” Sullivan continued, acknowledging to the troops that he knew they were going into harm’s way, and reciting the words of Winston Churchill, who said, “We at home sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us. Thank you for being those rough men and rough women, which every free society needs.”

Sen. Sullivan had been full-time Marine before returning to Alaska and was in the Marine Reserves when the nation was attacked on 9-11. He returned to Washington D.C. to work at the White House on national security issues.

For Sen. Sullivan’s service, as well as the service of hundreds of thousands of other Americans, our Governor is recognizing them by watering down the importance of Patriot Day with a new, politically correct name.


    • Copied directly from the Gov’s FB page “Alaska Governor Bill Walker·
      Tomorrow, all U.S. and Alaska flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Patriot Day and the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.”

      • That is the second one. Refer back to the one he signed on Sept. 7. This article was written before the second one came out.

  1. Thank you for this well written, insightful article! Disgusted with this ‘pc’ abomination of a governor!!!!

  2. “we as Americans reflect on the importance to our nation of freedom, tolerance, patriotism, diversity, and respect for others, and are grateful for the rights and freedoms that we hold as Americans;”…….’tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ are easily recognized as favored buzzwords of the hard Left.

    This clown can call himself an Independent or former Republican till the cows come home, but he continues to show himself to be nothing more than your garden variety Socialist, with his love of big government, OPM, and political correctness.

  3. Walker’ s patriotism is to the bloated state bureaucracy he protects and to his pet gas line to nowhere fantasy project.

  4. I don’t think the name needed changing, but in the end it’s still just another day with a “Group X is neat!” label attached to it. Amusing to see the vitriol in response.
    It’s not like veterans day, memorial day, armed forces day, or national flag day no longer exist, and the “patriots” so concerned over this tend to audaciously celebrate their label on a daily basis anyway.

    • Spoken like a true Democrat.

      This has nothing to do with the military, it’s about all those first responders and every day Americans that were willing to give all for their fellow humans in those towers and they weren’t all Americans. You go ahead and celebrate 9-11 Commemoration day but it will always be Patriots Day to most of us Alaskans.

      • “Spoken like a true Democrat.” Political discourse in 2017, ladies and gentlemen. I would have thought that being a registered Republican that voted Libertarian in ’16 meant I wasn’t a Democrat, but darn do I sound like one with a single disagreement!

        First responders and every-day Americans taking care of each other on 9/11 nothing to do with patriotism, it was people helping each other against all odds because it was right, not because they were American. Tacking “Patriot” and other nationalistic language on things that don’t need it is simple jingoism, and the Republican party is obsessed with it because it turns Americans against each other at the drop of a hat, as you so perfectly demonstrated.

        Enjoy your childish sense of superiority as you Demonstrate Your Patriotism on Patriot’s Day!!, other Alaskans and I will remember first responders’ heroic efforts sans the self-worship.

    • Buster, patriot and patriotism are not dirty words. We can acknowledge them without ceding them to the extreme conservative fringe. If Walker has made an effort to change the national remembrance away from Patriot Day to a watered down Commemoration Day in Alaska for some misguided purpose of political correctness then he deserves a certain amount of ridicule. Attacking that ridicule as something coming solely from extreme conservatism is an overreaction as far as I’m concerned as an independent. We can still be patriotic and patriots without being extreme and without being put down by overreactions from non-conservatives. Since it was noted that Walker issued some other statement mentioning Patriot Day, I don’t know what his status is on the day now… but if he calls today Commemoration Day… for Alaska, while the rest of the country commemorates Patriot Day… then his purpose should be questioned. Pulling down memorials to racism is one thing, overreacting and ceding patriotism to extreme conservatives is another different and wrong thing. This day in 2001, we were attacked by those seeking to hurt this country… so it’s ‘okay’ to be patriotic in response… not just generic about first responders. We don’t have to tolerate the wrong that’s done in a twisted view of ‘patriotism’, but Patriot’s Day is a national day for all to remember this country and its values and pulling together. There’s nothing wrong with defending the name of the day, if it’s done without vitriol and diatribe, etc. I thought the article was fairly free of that. Sarcasm is a poor response to disappointment at running away from a national unity remembrance.
      It’s also ‘amusing’ (not) to watch these exchanges escalate with overreaction labels… ‘jingoism’ being a favorite vocabulary example. So avoid that P–word, cede it to extremists all you want. Good day.

  5. Walker has again proven his true colors! After he steals our dividend money to make up for inept budgeting, he disrespects the citizens who lost their lives on 9/11. This guy has to go- please remember on election day. Doug Stuart Homer

    • one government does not speak for us Alaskans if we could get him out of office he would be gone tomorrow. We Alaskans will support our men and women and pray for them each and every day God Bless them all

  6. How insulting! While I have disagreed with many of his policies this is perhaps the most infuriating of all. He infers being a patriot is a bad thing. Really. Maybe that comes with being an independent and us electing one. I hope that he can see the error in his ways and apologize.

  7. This is a sad day for Alaska. Politicizing another tragic event in our Nation’s history! We (Charlie Huggins and Becky Huggins) as Veterans, take great exception to this! We urge ALL Alaskans to join us in honoring Patriots’ Day 2018 in memory of all those that died on 9-11-01 and for all those that have served and/ have been deployed in support of our United States.

  8. Gov. Walker does not reflect the Alaskan spirit and has no appreciation for the general mood of the citizens who erroneously elected his sorry arse.

  9. Can we immediately impeach this supposed governor and confirmed leftist for conduct unbecoming, loss of patriotism and just generally being really stupid? As a retired veteran and volunteer firefighter I take extreme offense and can only express my pure disgust for this governor.

  10. The governor should be ashamed. He can call the day what he wants, but we will celebrate the patriotism and remember those who died on 9/11 as well as those who showed bravery and heroism during and after the attacks. We will celebrate Patriot Day in 2017, but we will not celebrate diversity or tolerance of those that tried to destroy American values.

  11. I personally don’t refer to the day of 9/11/2001 as anything but “9/11”. It was a day of great tragedy and I don’t go out of my way to think about it, even when September 11th rolls around. It should always be recorded in the history books so that we can read and know of the vile evil of the terrorists, and also know of the heroic bravery and dedication to duty of the New York City Fire and Police departments. The valor and sacrifice of those New York public servants will never be forgotten. And we should always remember the brave proactive “Let’s roll” passengers on Flight 93.

    The other part of the story is the brave efforts of our soldiers to avenge the deaths of the 3000 plus innocent Americans. Bin Laden and other terrorists were dealt with.

    The same goes with the attack on Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941). I don’t “commemorate” (or “celebrate”) it every year. But I’m well versed on the history of it.

    President Obama said in part:
    “I call on all Americans to observe this National Day of Service and Remembrance with acts of selflessness and charity.”

    I won’t be participating in making 9/11 into a semi- holiday (“holy day”). I’m not going to let a bunch of terrorists who slit the throats of flight attendants have any say in what day I do acts of service. We Americans should be willing to do acts of service 365 days whenever the need comes up.

  12. This man is a pathetic excuse for a governor. I would be so embarrassed to have him for governor of our state. You need to vote this sorry guy out for someone who is not worried about his own need to be politically correct. You need a man like we have in Texas, Greg Abbott. He is a man of faith, principals, morals, a desire to serve the people and do what is right, and not afraid of stepping on toes. He loves his state and his country and shows this in his actions every day. He is Texas Proud and Texas Strong. God bless him

  13. Seems like a poor choice messing with this Patriot Day matter. Completely ill advised. By the way Charlie Huggins its Patriot Day not Patriots Day which is the 19th of April honoring Concord Lexington only in Massachusetts and Maine. Accuracy counts.

    • To your point – I landed on this link while researching Patriot vs Patriots … wanted to get it right! So glad I read it – sorry it happened. Guess, naively I see now, I assumed we had the market cornered here in the mainland (or whatever term might be used from citizens in Alaska) on gov officials who are clueless … thrilled to see there’s so many of us speaking out! Greetings to Alaska from Cape May NJ!


    With the following words and many others, President George W. Bush designated September 11 to be regarded as Patriot Day, or by the name America Remembers:

    By the President of the United States of America

    A Proclamation

    On this first observance of Patriot Day, we remember and honor those who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. We will not forget the events of that terrible morning nor will we forget how Americans responded in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in the skies over Pennsylvania — with heroism and selflessness; with compassion and courage; and with prayer and hope. We will always remember our collective obligation to ensure that justice is done, that freedom prevails, and that the principles upon which our Nation was founded endure.

    The President inaugurated this observance on September 4, 2002 and repeated it the next year, following a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 along with the US Congress, intending that it be firmly planted into the consciousness of the American people, and each year recalled to our memory “that more than 3,000 innocent people lost their lives when a calm September morning was shattered by terrorists driven by hatred and destruction” on September 11, 2001.

    On the anniversary of what most people call September 11th or just 9-11, I am reminded of the original article I wrote in the immediate wake of it, and the follow-up one I wrote a year following. Should we remember these kind of events, recalling history? The words of the Oxford don C.S. Lewis are particularly relevant.

    Most of all, perhaps, we need intimate knowledge of the past. Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion. A man who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village; the scholar has lived in many times is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age.

    – from “Learning in War-Time” (The Weight of Glory)

    Lest we forget.

    Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

  15. Walker is proving to be as bat**** crazy as Pel;osi. This little item should get him un elected come election tme. He is a total disgrace to Veterans, first responders and Alaska as a whole.

  16. who elected this looneytoon character? i thought the people of alaska were all about doing what’s right for our country and supporting our men and women in uniform.

  17. Hmmm…Guess you all missed that the Governor of a state can’t change the name of a nationally recognized day. Instead, what actually happened was he followed in the footsteps of Palin and Parnell and talked about Alaska’s Commemoration Day, which is a separate recognition of all lives lost. He also did a PR about Patriot Day. But hey, I wouldn’t want to complicate the running narrative here with facts or respect for the dead.

      • On September 11, 2012, didn’t Governor Parnell sign a proclamation also calling the day “September 11th Commemoration Day?” Come on, Suzanne – you worked for Sean. Patriot Day and an Alaska specific Commemoration Day aren’t mutually exclusive. You’re actually calling out Walker for not acknowledging Patriot Day in one statement, even though he addressed the national recognition in a separate press release. I like Sean, a lot, and put my money where my mouth is when it came to supporting him, but BOTH of these Governors are recognizing those lives lost on 9/11, and I’m having trouble with the idea of beating up on Walker about this when he is clearly recognizing all those who died. I just disagree with the whole concept of criticizing a recognition of great loss. You won’t see me on here saying anything about most of your political commentary, but this one…made me cringe a bit. Anyway, thanks for always keeping up an intriquing conversation portal.

        • Sean Parnell said in 2012: “Patriot Day is a time we reflect and honor the innocent lives that tragically ended when America came under attack by terrorists on September 11, 2001. Our hearts were heavy on the days that followed, yet from that horrific attack came countless acts of bravery and kindness. America grew stronger and more vigilant, but Americans will also never forget the sacrifices made by so many, and how we rose as a nation to defend our shores.” And yes, he also signed a proclamation. Thank you – sd

  18. Who voted & what do you expect?
    **Walker’s… PFD grab says it all about this “limo lawyer ” from
    Valdez… Quote:
    ” A –lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than — a thousand men– with guns.”

  19. It will never be Commemoration Day in Alaska it is and will always be Patriotic Day in Alaska we as a state remember 911 and what it did to the Whole of the United States and we will never forget those who have saved so many.

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