Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Airport Security

Day 273
I know some complain about airport security but I don’t mind.  For as infrequently as I fly, I’m OK with the extra minutes TSA workers insist on to ensure my safety.  Ultimately, the measures protect us all.

When the planes hit the World Trade Center towers, I worked for the Ohio Lt. Governor as her speechwriter.  Which meant I joined a handful of state employees huddled underground in a bunker after the towers fell while the majority of state employees scurried home to be with family. 

It was a scary and confusing 36-hours in the bunker.  An errant plane entered Cleveland airspace.  Would it turn?  Where was it headed?  Why didn’t the pilot respond? Each hour, representatives from all of the state agencies reported any changes or concerns.  Communication staff listened intently for things that may need to be released or answers to anticipated reporter’s question.  The chaos of the day made everyone overly cautious.

We watched and waited and joined the rest of the country in thinking, “What next?”

Talking on the phone to Chaz who watched the events unfold from our home television, I felt isolated in the bunker and disconnected to the events happened outside our concrete temporary shelter. 

A flash of a photograph on CNN snapped me back.  It was of a woman I knew (socially from my husband and I’s DC days) who was in the plane that hit the Pentagon.  That’s when it became personal.  For me, that’s when it became real.        

I remove my shoes and wait barefooted to be ushered into the full body scan machine. 

“You’re doing a great job,” I tell the TSA worker at National Airport in Washington, DC.

He looks angry, like I’m mocking him, until he sees from my earnest smile that I mean every word I’m saying. 

“Ugh,” he stutters, “thank you.” 

No, thank you.  Thank you.    

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