Patriot Day, September 11, 2014: Fly your flag at half staff today

September 11, 2014

U.S. flag at half-staff, in Brighton, New York

U.S. flag at half-staff, in Brighton, New York

To honor those who died on September 11, 2001, flags in the U.S. fly at half-staff on September 11.  Known as Patriot Day, the date is not in the Flag Code, but is listed in a separate law.

In the United States, Patriot Day, observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, occurs on September 11 of each year in memory of the 2,977 killed in the 2001 September 11 attacks.

To further honor the dead, and survivors, many people participate in a day of service to others.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ordering all federal facilities to fly flags at half-staff:

PATRIOT DAY AND NATIONAL DAY OF SERVICE AND REMEMBRANCE, 2014

- – – – – – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

America will never forget the September tragedy that shook our Nation’s core 13 years ago.  On a day that began like so many others, a clear blue sky was pierced by billowing black smoke as a wave of grief crashed over us.  But in one of our darkest moments, we summoned strength and courage, and out of horrible devastation emerged the best of our humanity.  On this solemn anniversary, we pause in remembrance, in reflection, and once again in unity.

On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 men, women, and children — friends and neighbors, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters — were taken from us with a heartbreaking swiftness and cruelty.  As we come together once more to mourn their loss, we also recall how the worst terrorist attack in our history brought out the true character of the American people.  Courageous firefighters rushed into an inferno, brave rescue workers charged up stairs, and coworkers carried others to safety.  Americans in distant cities and local towns united in common purpose, demonstrating the spirit of our Nation; people drove across the country to volunteer, donors lined up to give blood, and organizations collected food and clothing.  And in our Nation’s hour of need, millions of young Americans raised in a time of peace volunteered to don the uniforms of our country’s military and defend our values around the world.

As we remember all those we lost on that day and the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars that followed, we must strive to carry forward their legacy.  On this National Day of Service and Remembrance, we take up their unfinished work and pay tribute to their lives with service and charity.  Through these acts and quiet gestures, we can honor their memory and reclaim our sense of togetherness.  I encourage all Americans to visit www.Serve.gov or www.Servir.gov to learn more about service opportunities across our country.

In the face of great terror, some turned to God and many found comfort in family and friends — but all Americans came together as one people united not only in our grief, but also in our determination to stand with one another and support the country we love.  Today and all days, we remember the patriots who endure in the hearts of our Nation and their families who have known the awful depths of loss.  In their spirit, let us resolve to move forward together and rededicate ourselves to the ideals that define our Union as we work to strengthen our communities and better our world.

By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as “Patriot Day,” and by Public Law 111-13, approved April 21, 2009, the Congress has requested the observance of September 11 as an annually recognized “National Day of Service and Remembrance.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2014, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.  I call upon all departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the United States to display the flag of the United States at half-staff on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in honor of the individuals who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.  I invite the Governors of the United States and its Territories and interested organizations and individuals to join in this observance.  I call upon the people of the United States to participate in community service in honor of those our Nation lost, to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the innocent victims who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this  tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

BARACK OBAMA

Do you plan any special service today?


September 9, California Statehood Day; Golden Staters, fly your flags!

September 8, 2014

U.S. Flag Code guidelines list specific days Americans should fly U.S. flags, and generically, urges people in states to fly flags on their state’s day of achieving statehood.

It’s fun to read through the list of statehood dates and ponder just how such a date is calculated (consider the first 13 colonies and their becoming states); but however it was calculated, September 9 is California’s day.

U.S. and California flags flying from the same flagpole.

U.S. and California flags flying from the same flagpole.

Fly your flags, California.

3-cent stamp honoring California's statehood centennial, in 1950.  Image from Rockhounds.com

3-cent stamp honoring California’s statehood centennial, in 1950. Image from Rockhounds.com

California was the 31st state admitted; 31-star flags were in use until Minnesota’s statehood in 1858.  Here’s a unique design on the 31-star motif:

31-start flag with stars arranged in

31-star flag with stars arranged in “Great Star” constellation suggested by War of 1812 Navy hero Samuel Reid, a wearer of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Reid urged 13 stripes instead of 15, which Congress accepted; but he also urged the Great Star design, which was not accepted. Placement of stars in the field remained unencumbered by rules until the Eisenhower administration. Photo from Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques.


Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, 60 today

September 8, 2014

Happy birthday, Ruby Bridges!

You don’t recognize her there?

How about in Norman Rockwell’s illustration?

“The Problem We All Live With,” Norman Rockwell, 1964; oil on canvas, Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Ruby Bridges with President Barack Obama, in 2011:

President Obama with Ruby Bridges viewing the painting in the White House in 2011.  Photo by Pete Souza, public domain.

President Obama with Ruby Bridges viewing the painting in the White House in 2011. Photo by Pete Souza, public domain.


September is a flag-waving month

September 7, 2014

U.S. flag displayed in the National Center for the Constitution, Philadelphia.  Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur, via Wikimedia. Constitution Day is September 17.

U.S. flag displayed in the National Center for the Constitution, Philadelphia. Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur, via Wikimedia. Constitution Day is September 17.

Flag flying dates in September?  Three more (you flew your flag for Labor Day, right?):

  • September 9, for California statehood
  • September 11, for Patriot Day (not listed in the U.S. Flag Code, but encouraged in other law. Public Law No. 107-89)
  • September 17,for Constitution Day

Ready?

More:

Trivia note:  The U.S. flag is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.


Warning signs in Texas

September 7, 2014

On several Texas rivers one may rent a large tire inner tube, to float down the river on a good day.

Safety instructions sometimes are minimal, but effective.

Safety rules at a river float rental company, location unknown. Photo via Cathy Ordeman

Safety rules at a river float rental company, location unknown. Photo via Cathy Ordemann

Tip of the old scrub brush to Cathy Ordemann.


Obama wows the tourists at Stonehenge

September 5, 2014

He didn’t insist the site be cleared.  When he ran into some tourists, he was engaging and human.

Obama’s a nice guy, and represents our nation well, abroad.

GOP will note the sheep were not impressed.  Just wait.


Go read, “The Enduring Relevance of Rachel Carson”

September 3, 2014

Seriously, go read this whole essay — especially if you’re looking for some snarky way to complain about the ban on DDT.

It is tough for a single publication or its author to have an impact across nations, cultures, genres, and disciplines. It is tougher still for their appearance on the world stage to spark a social movement, rekindle human values and awareness, and create new mandates for action. And toughest of all is when the author is a woman, a scientist, who must overcome the prejudices of her time−of gender, of notions of progress, of the omnipotence of untrammelled industry−to articulate a clear-eyed, renewed vision of a better world, a cleaner environment, where people do not merely live, but flourish.

If I had to pick one exemplary work from the environmental canon that does this and does it well, it would be the one that burst on the scene on this day, 16 June, all of 52 years ago, in the United States of America and then swiftly encompassed, in its scope and sweep, the rest of the world. The book, Silent Spring, and its author, marine biologist Rachel Carson, are widely credited to be the sparks that lit the fire of the global environmental movement. Carson, whose 107th birth anniversary came and passed quietly on May 27, with little fanfare other than a commemorative Google Doodle, died fifty years ago after a battle with breast cancer. Why should we bother to remember Rachel Carson and Silent Spring? What could a woman, a book, from over five decades ago have to do with the enormously changed world we live in today? Yet, over the last few weeks, during fieldwork and travels in India’s northeast and the Western Ghats mountains, I thought frequently of Rachel Carson and her prescient words in Silent Spring.

Google Doodle on Rachel Carson's birthday, 27 May 2014 (Courtesy: Google)


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