Each September 11, communities across the United States commemorate the lives lost during the 2001 terrorist attacks that took place on American soil. On September 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes were hijacked and sent to various targets in the United States. Two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one plane crashed into the U.S. Pentagon Building near Washington, D.C., and a fourth plane was intercepted from the hijackers and crash-landed in rural Pennsylvania.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, President George W. Bush declared Friday, September 14, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the terrorist attacks. But many people felt there should be an annual event dedicated to preserving the memory of the victims and the heroism of the first responders.
A bill to make September 11 a national day of mourning was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on October 25, 2001. The bill passed the Senate unanimously. On September 11, 2002, the country recognized the first Patriot Day.
On this day, the U.S. flag is flown at half-mast. In addition, a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time is observed to correspond with the attacks. While not a federal holiday — schools and businesses remain open — memorial ceremonies are held for the 2,977 victims, including an annual reading of names of the people who lost their lives.