Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notes: Patriots, Pappas, and promises

I MUST HAVE missed the memo on “Patriot Day,” which is not to be confused with “Patriots Day.” Not that it ever would be confused, of course.

And I’m confident that today’s school kids do not confuse “Patriots Day” with the Super Bowl celebrations they have come to expect as an annual occurrence from the NFL Patriots.

It turns out that an act of Congress in December 2001 established Patriot Day, which commemorates the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by Islamist fanatics that claimed about 3,000 American lives. It was the biggest shocker since Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

Why they called that one Pearl Harbor Day is beyond me, there being a lot of pearls and a lot of harbors in the world. They should have grabbed “Patriot Day” while it was still available.

One of the online explanations for it says Patriot Day is not a national holiday or paid day off but instead a date on which to remember those who died on Nine Eleven. I bet they said the same thing back in the day about May 30 and Nov. 11.

Ask people where they were when President Kennedy was shot or when we landed on the moon, and most can tell you. Ask them where they were on “Patriot Day?” Not so much.

Anyone who was alive and kicking when the terrorists flew passenger jets with innocent passengers into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and that field in Pennsylvania knows what “Nine Eleven” means to him or her.

No matter what it is called, those of us who were alive then need to keep that day and its meaning alive so that future generations will understand it and try to make sure America doesn’t go back to sleep again.

Words often mean different things to people. Last week, when Manchester’s Chris Pappas won the Democrats’ congressional nomination, more than one person suggested the headline should be “Pappas wins in mudslide.”

People who have imbibed a certain tasty drink at the Puritan Back Room, of which Chris is an owner, would get the play on words. But the worry was that non-drinkers would think that the candidate had won his race by throwing mud.

Come to think of it, if he starts throwing out free Mudslides, and pledges a chicken (tender) in every pot, Chris Pappas could go a long way.

Write to Joe McQuaid at Publisher@unionleader.com or on Twitter at @deucecrew.