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American Patriotism Five Years After 9/11

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However, the much ballyhooed patriotic and spiritual awakening post 9/11 seems to have waned. The proud symbol of American freedom is no longer displayed so prominently, and church/temple/mosque attendance figures have settled back to their to pre-September 11 levels. Is it true that we have returned to the status quo and abandoned our newfound nationalism in the five years since this tragedy?

Well, sort of, according to a national survey of 588 adult Americans conducted online from August 3 to August 6, 2006, by the Horizon Research Corporation. In the survey, released by, 68 percent said that they feel the climate of national unity and compassion that existed after 9/11 has largely dissipated; however, 63 percent said that they have a greater personal sense of national unity and patriotism as a result of 9/11, and 52 percent said that they continue to see examples of the sense of unity and compassion that surfaced in America even five years after 9/11.

David Paine is president and co-founder of the initiative. "Most people believe that the spirit of unity that brought us together after 9/11 has largely disappeared, but in reality it is still very much within us in our hearts in terms of the actions and feelings that people express today," said Paine in a press release.

"Although it may not be as overt as it was after 9/11, people are definitely different, as is the nation, as a result of 9/11; and one consequence is that we all seem to be more cognizant of how important it really is for each of us to show compassion and make sacrifices to help others in need. The response to [Hurricane] Katrina and other disasters in recent years has really proven that."

Many individuals indicated that they plan some type of a commemorative observance this year. The most commonly considered activities were observing it in a personal way/ prayer or a moment of silence, attending a remembrance-related activity or memorial service, attending a religious commemoration, and raising the American flag or other patriotic activity.

Other results of the survey were:

  • 51 percent continue to find the anniversary of 9/11 to be a difficult time emotionally
  • 54 percent remain uncertain about how best to observe 9/11 and remember those lost
  • 28 percent believe it is time to move on
  • 71 percent favor designating 9/11 on a permanent basis as a special day of some nature
  • 68 percent support designating 9/11 as a national day of voluntary service
  • 44 percent report that their personal interest in volunteering or giving resources to help others had increased
  • 20 percent plan to do something special to observe the upcoming anniversary
  • 6 percent report their employers had planned something for the anniversary
  • 33 percent believe their employers should do something special to commemorate the anniversary
  • 44 percent feel their employers should not plan something
  • 18 percent knew someone who was lost or know a family member or friend who lost someone in the terrorist attacks
Survey participants were taken from across the country. More women than men responded to the survey, although the data was weighted to reflect a 1:1 ratio of women to men. The range of respondents' ages was approximately 21 to 70, with a median age of 48. The margin for error for the results of this survey is +/- 4.04 percent.

Jay Winuk—who lost his brother, Glenn J. Winuk, in the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower—and his friend David Paine founded in 2002. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation pays tribute to the victims, family members, and survivors of the attacks on America, as well as the rescue and recovery workers and the thousands of volunteers who gave so much on and following the terrorist attacks on September 11.

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