What do you do when evil rears its ugly head and the safety and security you felt is shattered? For the citizens of New York City, our military and first responders, on September 11, 2001, the answer was obvious: Take responsibility and start helping people.

Do what you can. For some civilians, this meant making sandwiches for firefighters before they returned to the rubble to search for survivors. For others, it meant reaching out to their neighbors to offer help and resources. Shop owners gave food and water. Teachers reassured children. In a display of courage and leadership, active duty and reserve military members rushed into the streets to see how they could help.

9/11 was a day of fear and tragedy. But it was also a day of courage and hope. Our nation came together in a special way to display unity and patriotism in the face of evil.

Shortly after the attacks, Congress passed Joint Resolution 71, and President George W. Bush signed it into law on December 18. The resolution requested that the president name September 11 Patriot Day to remember the victims of 9/11. The resolution passed the Senate unanimously, and its co-sponsors included members of both parties.

On this Patriot Day, Concerned Veterans for America Foundation joins our nation in remembering the 2,977 Americans who died on September 11, 2001, as well as their families and friends. We also remember the heroes who risked their lives to save others, thereby showing the world what patriotism looks like.