Patriot Day – Part 2

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David Aker
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Patriot Day, September 11th Flags Commemorating September 11th

The American Flag is to be flown at half-staff on September 11th – Patriot Day – in honor of the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil

This terrorist attack claimed 2,977 victims[i] (2,922 civilians and 55 military); more than the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 which claimed 2,402 victims[ii] (48 civilians and 2,354 military).

September 11th has been designated as Patriot Day by United States Public Law #107-89.  This law amended Title 36 of the United States Code.

State and local governments and the people of the United States have been called upon to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities.  Further, the law requests that individuals observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims.

The Meaning of “Half-Staff”

One theory on the origin of “half-staff” is that it comes from the military custom of lowering the flag to show submission to an enemy or, at the time of death, submission to the will of God.  Current custom indicates that the flag is “in mourning” when it is at half-staff.

When a flag is flown at half-staff, it should first be raised to the top of the pole and then lowered to half-staff.  For a flag in a bracket mounted on the front of a house or building, it is not possible to “half-staff” the flag.  Therefore, a tradition of using black ribbons as a sign of mourning can be used.  Two black ribbons of suitable length should be attached at the top of the pole.  For a flag hung vertically, a ribbon should be affixed at each end of the “top” edge of the flag.  These ribbons should never be attached to the flag itself.[iii]

It is important to note that when the United States flag is flown at “half-staff”, no other flag is to be flown at “full-staff”.  It is disrespectful to fly any flag higher than the U.S. Flag.  

Flags Commemorating 9/11

There have been a number of flags designed to commemorate 9/11 and to honor those who gave their life on that day.  Some of those flags are shown and described below.

Flag of Hero’s

Created with a sincere effort to honor and memorialize those who died in the terrorist attack of 9/11, this flag, imprinted with the names of each of the fallen Firefighters, Police, EMS and Court Officers who perished on that day, provides a comfort to the families of those heroes.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this flag goes to several charities including the Voices of 911 (supporting the families of the victims), the National 911 Museum at Ground Zero and the Flag of Honor Fund.[iv]

Remember 911 Flag

This flag memorializes the three locations of the terrorist attack of 9/11.  It is a white flag that includes the outline of Pennsylvania, an outline of the Pentagon and graphic representation of the Twin Towers in New York.

We Will Never Forget

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack was commemorated by  the design of this flag.  This flag includes images of a Firefighters helmet, a Police Officer’s hat, the skyline of New York and the beacon lights reaching into the heavens.  It is a powerful and iconic flag.  Although designed for the tenth anniversary, it is a flag that can be used perpetually to commemorate the attack and the resilience of the American people.

The 9/11 Eagle

This flag commemorates the 9/11 attack and, at the same time by using the American Eagle, is a strong representation of strength and patriotism.

The Founders of our Nation chose the eagle as a symbol of our Nation to convey a sense of long life, strength and power for the country.[v]   The eagle with its majestic looks represents a boundless spirit of freedom, strength and power.  The eagle has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future. (Maude M. Grant)[vi]


The lesson of 9/11 for civilians and first responders can be stated simply: in the new age of terrorism, we are all the primary targets. The losses America suffered that day demonstrated both the gravity of the terrorist threat and the commensurate need to prepare ourselves to meet it.

The first responders of today live in a world transformed by the attacks on 9/11. Because no one believes that every conceivable form of attack can be prevented, civilians and first responders will again find themselves on the front lines. We must plan for that eventuality. A rededication to preparedness is perhaps the best way to honor the memories of those we lost that day.[vii]


[iii] Flag Facts, The United States Flag in Mourning, National Flag Foundation, 2001

[iv] Annin Flagmakers, 2013 Catalog



[vii] National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, U.S. Congress, August 21, 2004

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