Patriot Day will forever be a remembrance for Americans; moreover, it’s one that continues to bring the country together in a united cause against evil and to remember the fallen throughout history. The annual observance takes place Sept. 11 in memory of those lost and injured during the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania in 2001. It is marked by flags flying at half mast and a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Eastern when the first plane struck one of the World Trade Center towers. Some locations directly impacted by the attacks hold church services, and those who lost loved ones lay flowers and visit memorials.
The attacks led to several United States military engagements in what is now called the “War on Terror.” The fight against terrorist organizations in the Middle East and elsewhere rages today. Servicemen and servicewomen continue to defend our rights at home and fight to remember the fallen of 9/11 and countless battles beforehand.
There are many memorials in the Pensacola area to visit in honor of Patriot Day. Here are a few of those:
Veterans Memorial Park
Located at the corner of 10th Ave. and Romana Street and directly on Main Street, Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park is home to several replica monuments of the USA’s participation in wars and the fight against terror. The park first featured “Wall South,” a replica of the National Vietnam Memorial erected in 1992. The park has since added memorials for World War I, World War II and the Korean War, and features a series of plaques dedicated to those lost in the War on Terror. It also features a Purple Heart Memorial and a monument to WWII submarine lifeguards. Plans are in place for a Revolutionary War Memorial in the future. The park was built solely by support from the people. You can make donations by checks made out to Veterans Memorial Park Foundation of Pensacola, 8799 Thunderbird Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514.
Part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Pickens was a key fixture in protecting Pensacola Bay during the Civil War and beyond. Standing since 1834, Fort Pickens fended off many advances, including retaliation after the Battle of Santa Rosa Island in 1861. Fort Pickens’ batteries continually shelled Confederate forces, leading to a withdrawal from the Pensacola Bay area in 1862. The advent of warfare technology made the fort obsolete. It was refurbished and opened to the public in 1976. Fort Pickens is among a group of other forts at Gulf Islands National Seashore. These “American Third System” forts include Fort Massachusetts, Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt. Scheduled tours are available. Call (850) 934-2600 for more information.
Naval Air Station Pensacola
The naval base is home to not only brave sailors, but it offers one of the world’s largest National Aviation museums. It also features a popular lighthouse across the street from the museum. The National Naval Aviation Museum covers more than 350,000 square feet and has more than 150 aircraft representing the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. There’s a lot here, and it’s a great place for activities to do with grandchildren.
Among those fun activities is the Cockpit Trainer, which lets you get the feel of sitting in a real aircraft. There also are two 3D flight simulators for all ages to enjoy. Kids 5 and under can have a great time in the Kiddie Hawk play area, which resembles the island of an aircraft carrier with real onboard activities. Your family also can take in one of the many Blue Angels flight practices. And if you want more Blue Angels, there’s a 4D theater experience as well. The National Naval Aviation Museum also includes a shop and café to recharge your batteries after a long day of checking out all the aircraft and artifacts on the grounds.
Admission and parking are free, but all visitors age 16 or older must present valid identification to gain access to the air station. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is located nearby. Built in 1859, it takes 177 steps to reach the top for one of the best views of the area. The catwalk gives you an up-close view of the Blue Angels in flight. The lighthouse also offers Ghosts Hunts. The tour is recommended for visitors older than 12. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is closed on major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for seniors 65 and older, children 12 and under and all military members.
Enjoy Your Time and Remember the Fallen
Patriot Day is the time to reflect on 9/11. It’s also a time to remember the fallen who fought to give you all those wonderful freedoms. We at Watermark of Gulf Breeze honor veterans and active-duty military. We offer high quality senior living in a casual and comfortable beach style. If you’re looking for the right assisted living place for the veteran or other loved one in your life, call Watermark of Gulf Breeze today to ensure their senior health and quality of life.