This year marks the first year in U.S. history that freshmen in High School will learn about 9/11 as a historical event that took place before their birth. 15 years after the terrorist attacks shook our country, it is important to remember why we keep our flags at half-staff every year on Patriot Day and why we should give a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11.
As stated on Annin Flagmakers Website: “Patriot Day has been added to the Flag Holidays listed in section 174 of the US Flag Code. On December 18, 2001, President Bush signed Public Law No: 107-89, designating September 11th as Patriot Day. State and local governments and the people of the United States are asked to observe Patriot Day with appropriate programs and activities to honor the individuals who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001.
The day has also been designated as a day that the US flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sundown, not just until noon as is done on Memorial Day. In addition the people of the United States are asked to observe a moment of silence on Patriot Day in remembrance of the victims.”
It is a common theme that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Though the vast majority of Americans no longer stand in a moment of silence every morning, it is still important to teach our students why we did and why we still do each year on September 11th. It is a sign of respect for our fellow Americans who’s lives were cut short due to the horrific events that took place on this day 15 years ago and to their families who have had to continue on without them.
To display the flags at half-staff from sunrise until sunset is also a hugely important theme that we, as Americans, should follow. Our nation changed on September 11th 2001. The Country that we were before that day is different from who we are now. Younger generations will only be learning about these events second hand. They won’t know what their fellow Americans experienced on that day. To keep our flags at half-staff is a sign of mourning and respect as a country. When this year’s freshman, and all those in grades K-8 step outside on September 11th, the sight of US flags at half-staff throughout the community and across the country will be a reminder that respect will always be given on this day. It will never be JUST a history lesson in a text book. It will be built into the fabric of this nation as it grows, generation after generation, so that we will never forget.