Saturday is Patriot Day. It isn’t a federal holiday, but it does mark a significant moment in America’s history.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks killed 2,977 people at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and aboard United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This year marks the 20th anniversary.
My family visited the Flight 93 National Memorial at Shanksville. One stone wall listing the names of the victims leads you on the path the plane took before it went down. A wooden ceremonial gate keeps people from walking on the sacred ground where the minute remains of 44 passengers, flight crew and terrorists and plane components mingle with the dirt. The gate only opens on Sept. 11.
While heading to the start of the Marine Corps Marathon, I caught a glimpse of the Pentagon’s memorial, which has 184 benches arranged according to the victim’s age — the youngest was 3, the oldest was 71. Each bench is engraved with a victim’s name. They’re arranged so people who read the names face skyward along the path the plane traveled.
My three kids were born after the attacks. They only know what history books, the memorial sites and family members have shared with them. I know they don’t feel the same way about Sept. 11 as I do and that’s OK. It just reminds me how important it is to share our knowledge and feelings with them.
Traditionally on Patriot Day, the flag of the United States is flown at half-staff at the White House and on all U.S. government buildings throughout the world. People are also encouraged to display flags and take a moment of silence to correspond with the attacks, beginning at 8:46 a.m. This is the time the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Below are activities being held throughout the Golden Triangle to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks.
United Way of Lowndes and Noxubee will hold a family friendly National Day of Service from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Service projects will be held at the Artesia Community Center, the United Way building and a new child care center. For details contact Diana Maya or Quan Walker at 662-370-1922 or [email protected] or visit the Golden Triangle Regional Hub for Volunteers and Nonprofits’ website.
The 14th Flight Training Wing will hold a 9/11 Reveille ceremony at 6:45 a.m. in front of the Wing Headquarters building.
WEST POINT — North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point Wellness Center is sponsoring a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sept. 11 at West Point High School football stadium. Participants are asked to park in the back by the field house and practice field and enter through the nearby gate. The gate will open at 8:30 a.m. for registration, which is free. Participants are asked to maintain a proper distance from others for everyone’s safety. The event starts at 9:11 a.m. Beginner exercisers are encouraged to walk an extra 2,071 steps that day, while veteran exercisers are challenged to climb 2,071 steps — the height of the 110-floor World Trade Center. For information, call 662-495-WELL (9355).