Flags are lowered today in honor of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001 in four coordinated terrorist attacks. In Alaska, today is known as Patriot Day.
“The tragic events of September 11, 2001 are seared into our collective memory,” Gov. Bill Walker said in a statement. “I hope Alaskans will join me tomorrow in observing a moment of silence to reflect on the souls taken from us that day, and the first responders who put themselves in danger to run to the aid of others. September 11 is a time for us to renew our commitment to our American values of freedom, service, and courage.”
In April, the Alaska State Legislature passed Sen. Kevin Meyer’s SB 152, establishing Sept. 11 each year as Patriot Day. This was after Gov. Walker had mishandled his 2017 proclamation, which fashioned the day into a day of “tolerance, patriotism, diversity, and respect for others,” which offended many who see it as a day for respect for the victims and honor for the patriots and heroes.
Walker will sign SB 152 into law at Anchorage Fire Department Station #1 at 100 East 4th Avenue at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
HISTORY OF PATRIOT DAY
President Bush designated Sept. 11 as Patriot Day, on Dec. 18, 2001. In 2009, Congress, with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, designated Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. President Barack Obama amended President Bush’s presidential proclamation and formally recognized and established Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
President Donald Trump has returned to calling it Patriot Day since he took office.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski offered this statement today, using the congressional designation of the National Day of Service and Remembrance:
“Across our nation, we pause on this day to remember the tragedies of September 11, 2001 — the anniversary of the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the heroic story of Flight 93. That day we saw a total of 2,996 people dead, including firefighters, paramedics, and police officers trying to help. 9/11 will forever be one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history.
“Yet from that tragedy, emerged a renewed sense of unity, patriotism, and reminder that we are all Americans together.
“On this day, officially known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, we honor those we lost and the heroic acts of so many. We remember the courage, heroism, and bravery shown by everyday Americans and first responders. And we promote community service as a tribute to the 9/11 victims and also the survivors.
“So let us continue to honor and thank all of those who sacrificed so much — the victims and heroes of 9/11 — by coming together as neighbors, as volunteers, to embody that “spirit of service” and community on this national day of unity. Let us not just remember that sense of unity our nation had after 9/11, let us live it.”
President Donald Trump’s statement reaffirmed today as “Patriot Day:”
“On Patriot Day, we honor the memories of the nearly 3,000 precious lives we lost on September 11, 2001, and of every hero who has given their life since that day to protect our safety and our freedom. We come together, today, to recall this timeless truth: When America is united, no force on Earth can break us apart. Our values endure; our people thrive; our Nation prevails; and the memory of our loved ones never fades.
“Although that fateful Tuesday 17 years ago began like any other, it erupted into horror and anguish when radical Islamist terrorists carried out an unprecedented attack on our homeland. In New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the enemies of liberty took aim on America, but their evil acts could not crush our spirit, overcome our will, or loosen our commitment to freedom. Through the dust and ashes, we emerged resilient and united — bruised but not broken.
“On September 11, 2001, the world came to understand the true source of America’s strength: A people of an indomitable will and a society rooted in the timeless values of liberty. Our love of country was made manifest through the examples of Americans engaging in countless acts of courage, grit, and selflessness. Their actions gave us hope and helped to sustain us in the days of healing that followed. We were moved by the heroism of the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93, who sacrificed their lives to prevent further acts of terror. We were inspired by police and first responders as they rushed headlong into burning buildings to rescue the injured and trapped, and as they courageously braved fire, smoke, and debris, descending deep into piles of rubble, ash, and twisted iron to search for survivors. We were stirred to service by the deeds of those who labored in the ensuing days and months, often in dangerous conditions, to help our Nation rebuild and recover. The noble sacrifices of these true patriots are forged into the great history of America.
“Today, we honor the memories of the souls we lost on September 11, 2001, and pay tribute to all of the patriots who have sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom. We pray for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen currently serving our Nation in harm’s way. We thank the dedicated men and women who keep our homeland safe and secure. We applaud the unsung patriots in city halls, community centers, and places of worship across our country whose simple acts of kindness define the greatness of America.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day.”
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2018, as Patriot Day. I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half staff on Patriot Day in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I invite the Governors of the United States and its Territories and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance. I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.