How Do You Feel About Flying On September 11?

Today marks the 14th anniversary of 9/11/01, though I’m sure everyone has realized that by now. I don’t think there are many days in history that virtually all of us remember, though I’d be willing to bet 9/11 is probably the closest to such a day.

I’m spending the day reflecting, thinking about all the lives that were changed as a result of the events of that day.

Anyway, yesterday Nick messaged me about 9/11, and specifically asked about whether I’d avoid flying on 9/11. And that led to an interesting conversation. Because even though we both feel the same about 9/11 (hopefully virtually all of us do!), the approach we took as a result differed significantly.

After that we figured it would be worthwhile to get the perspectives of Travis and Tiffany as well. With that out of the way, here are our collective thoughts reflecting on 9/11, and how it impacts our flying behavior on that day.

New-York-City

Nick

I haven’t actually flown on September 11 before (at least not after 2001), so this is an academic question for me, but I thought about it yesterday when a coworker mentioned that she’s flying to Hawaii (and got upgraded!) on September 11, but her friend insisted on flying out the next morning since she was too scared to fly on 9/11.

14 years later, I’m not anxious about flying on 9/11 in the sense that I’m worried a repeat terrorist attack would occur on my flight, but I’d be lying if I said the thought of flying that day doesn’t make me uneasy for more nebulous reasons. Being one of the old-timers on this blog, I was 23 years old when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania, old enough to feel genuine terror at the uncertainty of it all and to have very real anxiety about flying across the country to “prominent” airports like JFK, SFO, LAX, or IAD. That’s all dissipated, but there’s something that remains — this feeling of weirdness about the day, and especially about flying on September 11.

Ultimately, I recognize “there’s no safer day to fly” (bla bla bla, I don’t doubt it’s any more dangerous, but I also can’t see how it’s quantifiably safer, either) and that fares and award availability are predictably excellent on that day.

Yet… I hesitate to fly on September 11 if I could avoid it. I probably wouldn’t think twice about flying, say, LAX-PHX for work, but I might not want to jump on an LAX-JFK or JFK-LHR flight if I could postpone it by a day or two. Indeed, in recently planning a long weekend trip in September, I decided I wouldn’t fly on Friday the 11th — and ended up choosing another weekend instead.

I truly respect where Travis, Tiffany and Ben are coming from, though, and perhaps as the most infrequent flyer of the bunch, it’s more that I don’t fly all that much so it’s easy enough to pick a day and choose to avoid it.

Is that logical? Not really. But to me it’s personally disrespectful of my own memories of 9/11/01 to fly on that day (having gone to college in New York and just having moved to California, 9/11 had a deeply personal resonance, with truly devastating effects on the lives of people I knew well). I’m not suggesting that it’s disrespectful that others fly — but I chalk it up to a “moment of silence” type situation where my staying grounded on September 11 is a way for me to remember the events of that day and to honor the people who lost their lives.

In 10 more years, I may not have any qualms whatsoever about flying on 9/11, and right now it’s not a dealbreaker — but rather just something I’d like to avoid if I can, because I’d feel uncomfortable (not fearful, but emotional) doing so.

I guess, long story short, flying on September 11 “normalizes” the day to me, and the day has already become solidly normalized, just a few years away from becoming another December 7 (“Oh right! Pearl Harbor happened on this day!”). I’m just not ready for it to be normalized yet.

Travis

I share some of Nick’s personal experience with 9/11. It’s one of those days in my life that I can tell you exactly where I was when I found out, who I was with, and what I was thinking. And I expect that I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.

I was a 23 year old graduate student living in Boston at the time. A local flower shop had advertised a dozen free roses to anyone who brought in this coupon from the paper on 9/11. Since I was chasing a girl, and was a poor cheap graduate student, I had to go pick them up. (That girl did not become my wife, so we’ll leave it at that and move on.) So there I am, walking down a very long corridor on campus carrying a bouquet of roses, and everyone is running into one of the lecture halls to watch the news on TV. I stuck my head in, and then walked over to my office, kind of in a daze. The other graduate students were pretty freaked out, and most of them decided to head home, deciding that was probably safer than staying on (what was and is a pretty high-profile) campus.

I later learned that I was second order connected to a few of the passengers.

My good friend Boston Ben and I actually headed down to NYC in October to pick up a treadmill he had bought off of Craigslist. We rode the subway down to take a look at and pay our respects at Ground Zero. Even then there was still smoke drifting from the rubble. It was an incredibly moving image, one that will also stay with me forever.

Would I fly on 9/11?  Sure.

I doubt that we’ll ever see a repeat of such an attack in the US in our lifetimes. Simply put, that’s a trick that you get to pull once. Say what you will about our security theater — and I’m as big a critic as anyone– but we’re all just a lot more vigilant, especially in the air, than we were before. I mean, within minutes of the first crashed airliner it had already been sniffed out — the heroic passengers of the fourth plane crashed it into the ground after they learned what happened to the first three. Frankly, if you’re a terrorist, air travel is no longer the low hanging fruit. There’s a lot of easier targets out there.

So yeah, I will always feel connected to 9/11 given where I was at the time. But frankly I wouldn’t think twice about flying on the date. I respect Nick’s views on wanting to commemorate the day in his own way — and certainly that’s his right — but thinking that it’s any less safe than any other day just seems crazy to me. But then, I put my trust in numbers, and the numbers say that I’m safer in the air than anywhere else…

Tiffany

Like Travis, I don’t think any of the memories I have surrounding 9/11 will ever fade.

I was standing in my parents’ kitchen, boiling raisins for oatmeal and idly watching the TV on mute. I was barely 18, and as the earliest riser in the family was trying to be quiet, but I was certainly a bit of a news junkie at the time.

My dad walked into the kitchen as the screen cut away to announce that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, and we turned the volume on as he made coffee. We thought it was an accident — it seemed like everyone did for those few minutes — and as my sister and stepmom stumbled in we casually watched the first responders arrive on the scene. It was news, and a little scary, but nothing like it eventually would be.

The moment when the second plane hit is indelibly etched in my memory; the four of us crowded in a tiny kitchen watching grainy images on a ten-inch under-mount television. My stepmom starting to cry while my dad walked to the phone to call my grandfather. And the smell of the forgotten oatmeal, bubbling over the sides of the pot.

I represent the median age around here, so was just starting college in 2001. September 12th was the first day of rehearsal for collegiate marching band, and ironically for any activity involving 200+ kids with instruments, what I mostly remember is that everything was too quiet. The air was still, there seemed to be fewer people driving, and everyone seemed to speak in more reverent, softer, tones. That, and how during field rehearsals for months afterwards people would jump or look to the sky when there was even the smallest bit of aircraft noise, and the palpable sense of fear and confusion that was omnipresent.

And while it might sound ridiculous, in many ways the end of my childhood is linked to that Tuesday morning. Everyone grows up (and I’ve grown up even more since then, I hope), but the timing made it feel like a switch rather than a transition — the world was suddenly a much more complicated place, and I just suddenly had to be an adult in it.

So while I have no personal connections to anyone directly involved in the events of September 11th, the repercussions had a huge impact on who I am as a person, and it’s something I think about often.

Do I feel like it’s unsafe to fly on 9/11? Not at all, and I even tend to believe that in many ways we are “safer” from a terrorist action involving airplanes on 9/11 than on any other day.

One of the most effective barriers to onboard terrorism in a post-9/11 world is that we, as passengers, are now hyper-vigilant. While the TSA focuses on security theater, it’s plane loads of nervous Americans that have foiled would-be shoe-bombers and underwear-bombers. And given that we are (and should be) a bit more sensitive around 9/11, I like to think we’re paying that much closer attention.

I do understand what Nick is saying about trying not to “normalize” the day. I personally feel that making September 11th a “National Day of Service” does far more damage in that regard — having one more arbitrary holiday on the calendar takes away from the somberness of the day for me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation treats 9/11 as a day for barbecues and mattress sales. Which is unfortunate in so many ways.

Ben

Being the youngest of the bunch, I don’t remember 9/11 quite as vividly as Nick, Travis, and Tiffany.

I was in middle school on 9/11/01, and remember being in homeroom when we could tell something strange was going on, but they wouldn’t tell us what. Apparently something had happened in New York City, but that’s all we were told. It certainly didn’t sound too serious at the time, because they weren’t sharing any information. But then one by one, classmates got “paged” over the PA, apparently because their parents were coming to pick them up. Clearly something was going on!

That day when I came home from school I saw all the footage on TV, and it was terrible. But somehow it still didn’t seem real to me. Because I was 11 at the time, and at that age you just can’t really conceptualize that stuff like that happens (at least I couldn’t).

My oldest brother passed away when I was three years old, and I remember my mom sobbing about it. And I remember comforting her with “it’s okay, don’t worry, we’ll see him in heaven.” Because when you’re a few years old, that’s the best thing you know to say, and that’s sort of what you’re taught to believe.

I’d like to think my thought process was a bit more evolved at the age of 11, but I still think you can’t fully come to terms with the prospect of people committing such a horrible, well organized crime.

I think I really fully came to terms with 9/11 after watching the movie United 93. I remember being in shock and not being able to sleep after the first time I saw it. And then I remember seeing it at least a dozen more times. I’m not sure why, exactly. It’s almost as if I thought there would be a different ending if I watched it often enough… but there wasn’t.

Personally I’m happy to fly on 9/11, and would actually (slightly) go out of my way to do so. If anything I think it’s a great way to honor the day. My mom, on the other hand, doesn’t share my sentiment. And I do try to make my mom happy, so…

How about you?

We’d love to hear what you guys remember from 14 years ago, and how you feel about flying on the anniversary!

Comments

  1. I was to fly on September 11, 2001 in the afternoon to DTW, but obviously, my flight was cancelled. It was not until October 31,2001 that I took another flight. I travelled a lot during that time period, but I drove. The only time since that I have flown on September 11 was coming home from DTW on 9/11/2011. It was odd and a plane was escorted into DTW via fighter jet while I was waiting for my flight. It was the 10th anniversary and everyone was on edge.

    I remember watching the TSA agents interviewing passengers as they got off planes. I was struck by how little rights we have when we are airside. It was a very paranoid moment. There was no wifi, no one had a cell signal. You felt cut off. It was a very odd feeling. Our flight was delayed for 3 hours. I have no worries about flying on 9/11, but the paranoia was frightening. The TSA agents were acting like little generals and were openly challenging people in the boarding area who balked at their questioning. I was confronted at the boarding gate and told that I could be detained somewhere if I didn’t feel like answering their questions.

    That experience has made me re-think flying on 9/11.

  2. I was in my second year of college and woke up to my roommate talking about what was on the news. We all thought that it was just a horrible accident, since at that point only one plane had impacted. I had to stop home for something, which is right near BDL, when I learned of the second plane impact. While home, the normally noisy skies were quiet, since all flights had been grounded, which further confirmed that this was a terrorist act.
    Within the coming days, I realized that while what these !@#$!@#$ did was beyond horrible, when I saw every single home with an American flag out front, I believe in someway, it made us stronger.
    A few weeks later, my job hired a new employee who I later found out was a financial advisor who worked in the towers. He told us many things about that day, and how he was lucky enough to be on one of the lower floors and was able to get out fairly quickly. He stopped being a well paid financial advisor and began doing work he loved instead. It opened his eyes to see that money is not better than hapiness…
    I honestly don;t think I would have an issue flying on 9/11 if I had to, but would not go out of my way to book a flight for this day.

  3. Man. The disparity in writing quality really comes through here. I was totally against adding contributors; now I’m kind of wishing for nothing but contributors. Kudos, Nick, Travis, and Tiffany.

  4. It’s really interesting to hear how different Ben’s perspective was than mine when I was just a few years older as a freshman in high school. And it profoundly impacted me and was etched into my brain. Perhaps it was the photo of my mom and I in front of the WTC taken just 3 months before, or 3 years before having traveled to the top with my dad.

  5. I seem to fly almost every 9/11. Fares are always excellent because so many people avoid flying on 9/11. Today, I am doing my usual weekend commute, but in the past I’ve done several mile runs on 9/11. The events of 14 years ago are a horrific tragedy no matter what date it is today. To me, it’s just another number.

  6. I was working on Pine Street, a few blocks away … I suffered from PTSD for a while though I didn’t put it all together then … anyway, today is the first time I’m flying on 9/11. I don’t have any qualms flying on this particular day though.. just happened to be Friday for a long weekend… and no, the flight wasn’t particularly cheap though I did get upgraded 🙂

  7. Well, I just got off a connecting flight into DCA, so I guess no, no qualms about flying on 9/11. I don’t think it even tripped a red flag in my mind when I booked this trip a couple of months ago that I was flying on “that” date until a few days later. It’s a date. Many bad things happened on many dates. We can’t let ourselves to continue living in fear of the past.

  8. I just boarded an Alaska flight ORD-SEA, so I have no hesitation. Like others, I will always remember and reflect on the events. Something traumatic or so graphic as what we all witnessed on TV, is indelibly etched into our minds. So, certainly worth being reflective, but feel we should LIVE our lives and resist the temptation for superstition – much less fear – to prohibit us doing otherwise.

    Safe travels to ALL of you,whenever and wherever you travel!

  9. We all have stories about 9/11 … so I won’t address. But …

    Would I fly on 9/11. Sure. I’m not superstitious. It’s a day like any other.

  10. i was living on the upper east side. 20 years old at the time. my roommate woke me up to tell me. we went on the roof but couldn’t see far enough downtown. ended up at a friend’s apt where we all watched the news on tv, numb. tried calling downtown to check on my friends there but the phones weren’t working. that evening my best friend who lived on water street emailed me to let me know he was ok. i remember fighter jets flying overhead above manhattan. feeling a new kind of fear.

    i will fly any day of the year. they tried to rob us of our livelihood and alter our routines to cater to their supposed power that day. but they have none, just a cowardly misconception of what it takes to topple a resilient people.

  11. Writing this comment from 36,000 feet above Nebraska, second flight of the day, and second or third time I’ve flown on 9/11. My flights are full today. The Delta lounge near the F concourse in MSP was packed. I have no qualms about flying on 9/11 and have several times today thought of a friend’s brother who was killed in the north tower. Traveling today is a good “f*ck off” to the people behind the 9/11 attacks.

  12. About to get on a flight, naturally. Definitely a day to reflect and never forget what happened. I’d say I’m a bit more aware of what’s going on around me when flying on 9/11 as I’m sure that the idiots around the world would love to cause more troubles on this day just to turn the knife a bit. Do I think anything even remotely like 9/11 will happen again – nope. I’ll be first out of my seat to tackle anyone trying to hijack my flight, and as has been pointed out by security experts around the world, the traditional plane hijacking is dead because there are so many people that would do the same as me as well.

  13. Being just 2 at the time (yes I am a young reader) and living about 25 minutes away from ground zero in Long Island, my father was a first responder as a member of the NYPD. thankfully he came out with some serious injuries. Almost ironically, he now works for Delta. But like I said, this day is just too dark for me to even wrap my head around.

  14. I don’t fly a lot but whenever I’ve looked at trips in September it’s always been on my mind.

    Well today I flew home from Sweden and as I sat there (crammed in KLM coach) telling myself that it was no less dangerous than any other day I couldnt help but feel less relaxed than normal.

    Part of me thinks that if I schedule myself around the date then there is an aspect of ‘letting them win’. But ultimately I needed to be in one place on the 10th and I wanted to be home ASAP so it was a head over heart decision.

  15. I was a senior in high school on 9/11. My high school was located in the Bronx, and I could see the World Trade Center every day as my bus crossed the Whitestone Bridge from my home in Queens.

    The principal made a PA announcement during my English class that some planes had collided near the WTC (which wasn’t quite what had actually happened), and she said that students who had parents who work in the Twin Towers should come to the office. She also said that the school was on lockdown until further notice, meaning nobody was allowed in or out.

    The next few hours were filled with a lot of fear and uncertainty. The cellular networks were overloaded, making it difficult to reach family. Classmates who had planned to apply to Harvard and Yale were instead talking about enlisting in the armed forces. The bridges and tunnels were closed, and for a while it looked like many of us wouldn’t be able to get home that day. Students who lived in the Bronx wore handwritten signs that said “Need a place to stay? You can stay at my house,” offering potentially stranded students shelter for the night.

    We did make it home, and the usually loud bus ride was quiet and somber. When we caught our first view of the black smoke that appeared where the towers used to be, there was a collective gasp.

    I’m kind of a robot when it comes to emotions, but 9/11 is an exception. It invokes a lot of feelings in me that are hard to deal with. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for people who lost family members.

    That all said, I don’t have concerns about flying on the anniversary. To me, the important thing is that we remember what happened.

  16. I’m with Andrew B. I don’t have issues with flying on this day. The important thing is that we remember.

    Americans should remember all the victims and heroes including fire, police, ems, other first responders, and the thousands of construction workers and support crews that came from all 50 states to help clean up the mess. Some of them are living victims – now sick and dying from exposure to the pulverized material. May this or anything like it never happen again.

    I still remember where I was on that day, and what I was doing. An inspector called me on the radio to tell me that “a commercial jet airliner just crashed into the world trade center..” I told him that he had to be wrong – no matter what he heard on the radio – and that it was probably a small jet or prop job. Several minutes later, he radio’d me again and told me that “a second commercial plane had just hit the world trade center.” I left the office and went home where I watched the series of events unfold in real time. As I left the Pasco County government center, I saw people running outside to their cars. Some of them were crying.

    Words can not describe that day. I always hated New York, and growing up in the suburbs wasn’t fun for me. It was too crowded. There was way too much traffic. It was a jungle. I was glad to have escaped to Florida when I was in my twenties. When the first tower fell, somehow in my mind – I was transported back there again as if I had never left. I was one of them again. My friend Jim worked in the trade center. He was on a cigarette break (outside on the sidewalk) when the first plane hit. So he RAN. This is the first time that I’ve ever heard of cigarette smoking saving someone’s life.

    Let us not forget that nothing has really changed since that day. In fact, it probably got worse. There is more evil in this world now. Hatred begins in the heart. It can be cultivated to a point that it makes something like this possible. The victims (and heroes) of this tragic event deserve to be remembered; at least that is one man’s opinion. http://www.ada-parking.com/never-forget-911.html

  17. I was in senior in high school in the DC metro area, and my dad worked at the Pentagon, so that September day remains indelibly etched into my memory. The thought of this being “just another day” to the generation behind me is distasteful. I hope it doesn’t become another meaningless holiday of far-off origin. But, on the other hand, life must go on. It’s not my first choice, but to pick another date when flying on this date makes the most sense seems almost like capitulation to those who attacked us 14 years ago. I think the ideal scenario is to reflect on that day while going about our business. Never forget, never let it happen again, but never change your patterns out of fear.

  18. I was planning a weekend trip to NYC and was booking for this weekend but when I realized it was 9/11 I changed my trip to another weekend. Not because I’m afraid to fly today it just seemed disrespectful for me personally. I felt like it would be rude to be a tourist in NYC on such a somber date. Again, this just how I feel and certainly don’t judge others for their decisions on this day.

  19. I did my first solo Europe trip on 9/16 — the second day planes were back in the air. There were three other passengers on the plane to Detroit. Detroit to Gatwick was packed with folks trying to get home. In London, everyone who heard my accent wanted to talk. The most amazing trip of my life.

  20. I flew into DCA just days after flights resumed in 2001 and it didn’t bother me. I don’t have any worries or reluctance to fly on Sep 11th, and have done so in past years (even to/from NYC and DC). The odds of an anniversary attack seem small to me, and it’s otherwise just another day. I wouldn’t avoid flying to HNL on December 7th, for example.

    But some are uneasy about it and that’s fine.

  21. I was in a big business meeting at the Cleveland Airport Marriott when it happened. They told us about it at a break at 10am. I cried a bit. Oddly, after the break (during which I called my parents in LA to tell them I was ISk, waking them up) they continued the meeting. I still don’t get that.

    That night we all went to diw Cleveland for dinner. The place was empty except for maybe two restaurants. We saw Bush’s address, which was comforting though I’m not a fan. Later, in the bar, a few of us considered renting a car to drive back to the west coast, but I ended up flying on the 14th. That was eerie.

    I am currently connecting in ORD on our way to Croatia. LAX security was tight this morning but it was fairly quiet there. It’s quiet here in Chicago too.

  22. I’ll never forget flying on September 11th, 2002. I didn’t have any fear whatsoever, but most other people did. Our flight was eerily empty. On a plane that normally fits 176, we maybe had 20 people total on the flight. Upon landing in Orlando, Florida……there was cake, drinks, and celebration. Everyone was very pro-America and pro-freedom and wanted to show their support! It was a memorable experience for sure. I’ll never be afraid to fly; and that was part of the reason why I wanted to be in the air on that day, one year later.

  23. I had just boarded a plane on 9/11/01 when the news came then we got off the plane and watched a TV in the terminal until it was announced all planes were grounded. After this discussion, I think I should complete that flight on 9/11, maybe next year, too late now.

  24. I don’t mind flying on September 11. I flew back from HNL today. The planes were full, and no apparent anxiety among the passengers.

    On 9/11 I was delayed going to work for some reason and was about to turn off Good Morning America and head out the door when the host, Charlie Gibson, said there was a report of a plane (a small plane I believe he said) colliding with the World Trade Center. Being a private pilot, I decided to keep watching. When they switched to a live shot of the towers I was shocked. There was a big smoking hole in one of the towers, and what was even more disturbing for me was the weather was CAVU, severe clear. It was a brilliant, cloudless day. “What the H” I thought. “How could a small plane hit that building in this weather?” Plus the hole looked too big for a small plane impact. I was riveted and kept watching. There was a lot of speculation from the announcers while they kept the cameras trained on the towers. A few minutes later, the TV showed another plane, which was clearly a commercial passenger jet, approach from the right at low altitude and slam into the other tower. It was a moment where I had to pinch myself and question if I really saw what just happened. It took a few seconds to sink in, but then I decided I better get into work pronto.

    One of my coworkers had a son at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was at work that morning unfortunately.

  25. @Lucky, kudos to you and your team (and other commenters) for the deeply poignant and moving post. A beautiful way to remember and commemorate the horrible tragedy.

  26. You remember what you said when you were 3 years old… I call that cow dung.

    And I don’t give 9/11 any extra attention compare to any other day. Why? Because by doing so, instils fear and I’m not going to allow someone else scare me. And it was 14 years ago, time to move on

  27. I don’t remember this day very well, as I was still very young when it happened, but my dad remembers it very well, as he’d just gotten off a flight into Singapore when he saw the news.

  28. I flew yesterday back to man from dxb, didn’t really give it too much thought until someone Asked me the other day if it was a good idea! It was my birthday on the 10th so it was a time I wanted to head back.

    I have no problem in flying on sept 11 personally but being British and not being as impacted as our U.S. Cousins may be part of the reason, I certainly respect people’s choices and would understand why people want to avoid flying that day.

    Safe flying all.

  29. Just flew MIA-DUS on 9/11. I will not let my travel plans be influenced by some idiots. I do admit though that after booking I realized that I would be flying on 9/11 and it did feel kinda strange. Unfortunately it’s a date we will always remember.

    @Lucky: I actually got one of those really private window seats on AB in business class. The seat is really great, unfortunately the headphone jack was broken, which really sucked and the cabin was full and I couldn’t switch seats, so no inflight entertainment system for me. Really curious what AB will offer in terms of compensation.

  30. I boarded flight SA203 that departed JNB for JFK at 9:25 pm on 09/11/2015 and it did occur to me that I was flying on 9/11, heading for “ground zero”. One does think about it because there are folks out there who have serious beef with America and 9/11 did show that America is vulnerable, which could create copycats. However, on this particular instance, SA203 was not to arrive at JFK until 6:40 am on 09/12/2015 and it was not a US-based carrier, so I was not too worried. We landed without incident this morning and I am writing this from the safety of my home after almost 3 weeks away on this big trek:

    EWR-BRU-MXP-BRU-FIX-JNB-JFK, on UA, LH, SN, and SA — all *A carriers.

    Even when booking the JNB-JFK segment way back when, it did occur to me that I would be flying on 9/11 but was not deterred because I saw no reason why this particular flight should be singled out for a hit… 😉

  31. Ben,
    First, thank you for rewording the last paragraph of your post. “Worthwhile” is a lot more appropriate. Nick’s comments resonated the most with me. While ultimately I wouldn’t fly or not fly because of the date, I don’t want to “normalize” the day either – but perhaps that’s inevitable. Having lost a really close friend – one of the pilots – that day it will never be a normal day for me, but each anniversary gets a little easier. While I can replay every minute in my mind, each year the tragedy of it all is a little less emotionally consuming and the sadness recedes a little further. I have so many memories surrounding 9/11 but one that sticks in my mind right now is one of going back to New York a couple months later for the first time after 9/11. As the plane made it’s final approach into Newark, there was a deafening silence as everyone just quietly stared out the windows at the gaping hole that now existed in the beautiful skyline. It really was gone. Like a lot of other things. Just gone.

  32. After a tragedy, the hardest thing to do is to get up the next day and go on with life. Some days are easier than others, but when I am reminded of what happened, I am brought back (like reading these posts). Moving on with life is what we need to do to survive, so flying on that day is a sign of progress. Two steps forward for every painful step backward to a past memory.

  33. I am not gonna tell you what I did and where I was on 09/11/2001. This is not what the post is about.

    09/11/2001 was the day when I decided for the first time to fly from Germany to watch the Daytona 500 in 2002 (visitors from Florida that became very good friends were at Germany together with relatives from California).

    It was my first time at all flying across the Atlantic (at the age of 41!). And why did I decide on that? I said it then and I say it today: I will never, ever let Osama bin Laden and the likes determine my life!

    I’ve been flying ever since, in the meantime millions of miles and sometimes every 4 weeks between Europe and California (I know this doesn’t sound a lot to some of you guys but considering my job it wasn’t always easy) and I never hesitated to board an aircraft – not on Friday, 13th nor on 9/11. And I will not give in to terrorists telling what to do and what not to do.

    So, yes, I will fly on every 9/11 if it turns out like it – just like I spend some time at the World Trade Center site at New York City each time I am visiting Big Apple.

  34. I was in TATL plane on 09/11/01 immigrating to Canada. Got announcement from pilot that flight is being diverted back due to US airspace being closed “due to bombing attack”. Saw the true picture on the ground. Could not wrap my head around it (still can not, on some level). Finally reached Canada 4 days later.
    That 4 days of disruption is the only disruption I allow to fear-tactics of terrorism. I continue on, respecting and remembering the victims, ignoring any fear, resisting urge to add “disruptions”. Terrorist have taken too much. They are not taking the day away.
    Will fly. Will remember.

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