So, I’m struggling with the fact that today has been designated, and is commonly referred to, as “Patriot Day.” (most folks leave off the unwieldy “and National Day of Service and Remembrance”, which I think is far more appropriate.)
It seems most appropriate to remember and honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks today, and designating it “Patriot Day” co-opts their memory in service of a nationalism that many of them may or may not have supported.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a patriot is “A person who loves his or her country, esp. one who is ready to support its freedoms and rights and to defend it against enemies or detractors.”
There were nearly four hundred non-Americans who were probably not American patriots. And I would like to think that the courageous people who did risk their lives for others, including the many valiant emergency workers and first responders, did so because they were saving their fellow human beings, and did so regardless of the national origins of those they served.
9/11 happened in large part because people keep identifying primarily by their differences–as members of a nationality, a religion, an ethnicity–rather than by what we share–our common humanity.