Patriot – one who loves and zealously supports his own country (Webster’s New World Dictionary)
The word patriot to me would include military members, civil servants (fireman, policeman, emergency medical personnel) and generally one who loves his or her country. If you use the dictionary definition, all of those would be included but it also includes all who support our country.
To make sure I was capturing the total picture of a patriot, I went to the computer. Well, to my surprise, the first suggestion was New England Patriots – of course Football – all patriots love football…well, those from New England, anyway.
The next listing was Patriots of the American Revolution, the American Whigs, Revolutionaries, Congress-Men or Rebels. These are some of the earliest patriots of our country as colonists of the British Thirteen United Colonies who violently rebelled against British control during the American Revolution and in July 1776 declared the United States of America an independent nation.
Several listings down I found Patriot Day, a U.S. holiday established in remembrance of those killed in the September 11 attacks. In the United States, Patriot Day occurs on September 11 of each year, designated in memory of the 2,977 killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Initially, the day was called the Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001.
Anyone reading this blog remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the first reports on that tragic day. I was in a hospital outpatient area with a friend, waiting for her surgery – it was more than most of us could comprehend. Immediate respond was, “What?! Must have been an accident.” Then, as the tragedy continued and grew, the What changed to Why? The Why is something Americans will never fully understand since being an American Patriot our thoughts just do not follow the inhuman theory behind the attack.
Patriots became visible very quickly – people trying to save strangers, police trying to control a very dangerous situation, a fireman looking for victims, loved ones desperate to find their family members and friends. We even heard the cell phone calls as patriots made their last contacts with family. We learned about true patriots that overcame the enemy in an attempt to prevent more destruction.
It took a few days, but most Americans found that they knew one or more of those who gave their lives that day. For me, that did occur. A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs friend of mine, Abe Scott, a budget analyst for the National Cemetery Administration, lost his wife in the Pentagon. Janice M. Scott, who had worked at the Pentagon since the late 1980s, had been relocated one month before to the E Ring, the area destroyed by hijacked Flight 77. She was 46 years old and the mother of two daughters. She and Abe had been married for 24 years. Abe and Janice were active in the Greater Little Zion Baptist Church in Fairfax, VA and their choir was singing in Pensacola the weekend prior to Sept 11, 2001, which I was fortunate to have attended.
Abe and his daughters established the Janice M. Scott Memorial Scholarship Fund in October 2001 to honor Janice Marie Scott’s (nee: Holmes) legacy as an advocate for youth and a tremendous supporter of community services within the Greater Metropolitan Area of Washington, DC. Establishing a scholarship in Janice’s name not only honored Janice’s life, but it also helped the Scott family manage their grief. The end result was one of generosity toward future patriots through philanthropy.
Concerned patriots also showed their support through philanthropy, sending funds to help those families in need. Philanthropy is an active part of what American patriots are about – giving support when disasters happen or for readiness of future disasters. The Patterson Foundation has and continues to support several initiatives regionally and globally.
Getting back to Patriot Day, last year on the 10th anniversary of that unforgettable day, I attended the Patriot Day Concert at the Van Wezel in Sarasota, Fla., performed by the Sarasota Orchestra. During the concert, I kept remembering the voices of all those calls for help.
I was disappointed that a search for activities to attend this Patriot Day has not revealed any results, so my search will continue. If you are involved in any activities in the Sarasota area, please comment on this blog with the information.
We are patriots because we do love and zealously support our country, and we promise to not forget the Patriots lost on September 11, 2001.