Each year, the President of the United States encourages Americans to observe Patriot Day in honor of those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Here's a summary of the holiday's history:
1. U.S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71
A bill to to make Sept. 11 a discretionary day of remembrance was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 25, 2001. The joint resolution, which recognizes Sept. 11 as "Patriot Day" was signed into law Dec. 18 by President George W. Bush.
On April 21, 2009, Congress requested that Sept. 11 be recognized annually as "National Day of Service and Remembrance."
2. Flags Fly at Half-Staff
On Sept. 11, the President orders that all American flags be flown at half-staff at individual homes, businesses, U.S. government buildings and the White House. Buildings across Downers Grove, including and several schools, have lowered their flags in honor of 9/11.
3. Moment of Silence
As part of the the proclamation for Patriot Day, the President calls upon citizens to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time) to honor those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The moment of silence marks the time the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
4. 2013 ProclamationPresident Barack Obama's 2013 proclamation reads:
Twelve years ago this month, nearly three thousand innocent men, women, and children lost their lives in attacks meant to terrorize our Nation. They had been going about their day, harming no one, when sudden violence struck. We will never undo the pain and injustice borne that terrible morning, nor will we ever forget those we lost.
On September 11, 2001, amid shattered glass, twisted steel, and clouds of dust, the spirit of America shone through. We remember the sacrifice of strangers and first responders who rushed into darkness to carry others from danger. We remember the unbreakable bonds of unity we felt in the long days that followed -- how we held each other, how we came to our neighbors' aid, how we prayed for one another. We recall how Americans of every station joined together to support the survivors in their hour of need and to heal our Nation in the years that followed.
Today, we can honor those we lost by building a Nation worthy of their memories. Let us also live up to the selfless example of the heroes who gave of themselves in the face of such great evil.
As we mark the anniversary of September 11, I invite all Americans to observe a National Day of Service and Remembrance by uniting in the same extraordinary way we came together after the attacks. Like the Americans who chose compassion when confronted with cruelty, we can show our love for one another by devoting our time and talents to those in need. I encourage all Americans to visit www.serve.gov, or www.servir.gov for Spanish speakers, to find ways to get involved in their communities.
As we serve and remember, we reaffirm our ties to one another. On September 11, 2001, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. May the same be said of us today, and always.