Keene, N.H. – As Americans took a relaxing stroll this Sunday they were reminded by the ringing of church bells in the early morning and American flags swaying in the breeze at half-mast.

Patriot Day – what is Patriot Day?

A question that many Americans ask themselves as they open up their new calendar and notice that the Easter Sunday and Hanukkah have been joined by a more somber national day, Patriot Day.

According to documents of Joint Resolution, Patriot Day was officially approved on October 25th 2001 by a 407-0 vote in the House of Representatives, and President George W. Bush quickly signed the resolution in Public Law 107-89 without ceremony on December 18th 2001; in turn causing millions of Americans to scratch their heads as they looked over their new Hallmark calendar that fall.

Officially, Patriot Day mourns the events of September 11th 2001, days whose events are etched into every American’s memory and have joined the ranks of December 7th 1941 and November 22nd 1963 as dates of infamy that will never be forgotten by the American people.

These dates earned respect and remembrance by a nation, but what does Patriot Day mean to the average American?

Amy McEwen, 21, went to school right in New York City, and remembers 9/11/01 well.

“I was in 6th grade, and my school was evacuated because our administrators thought there’d be more attacks.”

“I think Patriot Day means being proud for what we have and remembering what we had to lose to get us here,” McEwen stated.

In wake of the September 11th attacks, the War on Terror officially began. The War on Terror designates the campaign against terrorist groups and the regimes that may be assisting them.

Within a month of the September 11th attacks, the United States began a campaign ousting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. According to the Council on Foreign Relations the group claiming responsibility in the attacks, Al-Queda, has sought refuge in Afghanistan since 1996.

Dustin Jones, 23, served in the armed forces overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Fighting the Taliban for four years is entirely justified knowing they assisted in the murder of thousands of innocent Americans on 9/11,” Jones stated.

Jones, a Marine, knew he wanted to join the service out of high school following the events of 9/11, and was “eager to sign up for active duty in Iraq,” he stated.

His achievements in basic training earned him the rank of Corporal when he graduated from basic training, and the surgical preciseness with his M16 rifle earned him the chance of becoming a Marine sniper upon his return from Iraq, according to personal military records.

Serving and protecting his country under extreme battle situations is the definition of patriotism unto itself.

Jones returned home in spring 2011 after serving four years in the Marines to a situation many veterans face upon returning from combat.

“It was difficult at first when I got home, lots of things had changed. My family moved across the country and my old friends weren’t eager to hang out with someone who spent the last four years of their life fighting an enemy they couldn’t imagine,” Jones stated.

Jones isn’t alone in his confusion about the morality his service, or what to do next.

According to the Brookings Institution Iraq Index for 2010, 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3-4 months of returning home.

“I think Patriot Day is the mourning of the lives lost of the civilians and patriots in every American conflict. I think that they have it on September 11th so people would never forget the events of that day, but I don’t know why they would,” Jones concluded.

“Why do we need two days for celebrating patriotism? We already have the 4th of July” A question I overheard a girl say as I was walking home today.

The answer is simple – The 4th of July celebrates the birth of a Democratic republic that has become one of the strongest societies in history – Patriot Day mourns the lives lost by patriots who preserved our freedom, at least that’s what I think. Created as a day to remember the lives lost in the September 11th attacks, a broader scope of remembrance on this day is to remember every patriot who lost their lives protecting and serving the United States, I mean, it is Patriot Day after all.


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