By Presidential Proclamation, the three days September 8-10 are designated as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance marking the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The collision caused a massive explosion showering burning debris over surrounding buildings and onto the streets below. In minutes, it became clear that America was under attack.
A third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
A total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, including the 19 terrorist hijackers aboard the four airplanes. People from 78 countries died.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE
- Moment of Silence: The flag of the United States flies at half-staff. A moment of silence is observed to correspond with the attacks, beginning at 8:46 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), the time the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
- Pray: The official proclamation requests people “Pray for guidance, wisdom, and protection for the men and women in uniform who fight each day to protect America from terrorism, and we pray for the unity of our Nation, both in times of peril and peace.
“I ask that the people of the United States mark these National Days of Prayer and Remembrance with prayer, contemplation, memorial services, the visiting of memorials, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. I invite all people around the world to share in these Days of Prayer and Remembrance.”
- Remember: The official proclamation requests people “Pause to honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were murdered.”
- Abraham Zelmanowitz refused to leave his quadriplegic co-worker, Edward Beyea until rescue personnel came for them. However, rescue workers were never able to reach them.
- The Rev. Mychal Judge, 68 years old, a Franciscan friar who was a Fire Department Chaplain, died while ministering last rites to a mortally wounded firefighter when one of the towers collapsed.
- Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley Security Director, evacuated 2,687 of the 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees in the building. He died during the attacks of September 11, 2001, while leading evacuees from the South Tower. He was last seen on the 10th floor, heading upward to rescue more people. His remains were never found.
- 24-year-old Welles Crowther made his way to the 78th-floor sky lobby. There he met a group of survivors, including a badly burned Lin Young, who worked on the 86th floor. Crowther carried her on his back, directing the group to the one working stairway. The survivors followed him 17 stories down, where he dropped off the woman he was carrying, then headed back upstairs to assist others. Crowther helped put out fires and administered first aid. He directed another group downstairs. Then, he returned up the stairs to help others. He was last seen with members of the FDNY before the South Tower collapsed. His body was found in the rubble in March 2012.
- Independent of each other, two marines, Sgt. Jason Thomas and Dave Karnes changed uniforms and drove toward the site. As they reached the towers, they found each other and began searching for survivors. They climbed over the dangerous field of metal when the South Tower fell on them. Alive but seriously injured, they were rescued and returned to Ground Zero to help. They rescued two people buried in the rubble.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND REMEMBRANCE HISTORY
- September 13, 2001, in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush, proclaimed Friday, September 14, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.
- August 31, 2002, President George W. Bush proclaimed Friday, September 6, through Sunday, September 8, 2002, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.
- September 4, 2002, President Bush proclaimed September 11, 2002, as the first Patriot Day.
- September 9, 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed September 11th as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance,
In 2017 and 2018, President Donald Trump declared September 8–10 as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance and proclaimed September 11 as Patriot Day. “During the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, we pause to honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were murdered by radical Islamist terrorists in the brutal attacks of September 11, 2001. We come together to pray for those whose lives were forever changed by the loss of a loved one. We strengthen our resolve to stand together as one Nation.”