Things were humming along as usual at the Atlanta airport security checkpoint Wednesday morning, until they weren’t.
At 8:46 a.m., the lines stopped and everyone was quiet for a moment in memory of the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. Some bowed their heads during the moment of silence as an announcement paid tribute to the fallen and the heroes who responded.
If anyone was inconvenienced during the temporary lull, or aggravated about the holdup, they kept it to themselves. There was no huffing about being late for a flight, no fidgeting, no noise at all. Just the yapping of a four-legged passenger who was about to board. Someone’s emotional support dog, maybe.
Then operations cranked back up again. Passengers took off shoes and belts, placed luggage on conveyor belts and stepped into full-body scanners. All legacies of the attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people when four hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
I just happened to be at the TSA post at the time as I flew to New Orleans this morning to attend the annual Online News Association Conference. The millennial demographic is usually well-represented: brilliant and creative folks who have no memory of boarding a commercial flight without partially stripping and being X-rayed.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport aired another moment-of-silence announcement at 9:03 a.m. Nothing stopped moving in between concourses, where I was at the time, although people getting onto escalators or the plane train did so quietly. The announcements, of course, coincided with the times planes commandeered by terrorists struck one World Trade tower, then the other.
If there was a third commemoration at 10:03 a.m., when Flight 93 slammed into a Pennsylvania field, passengers haven taken action against the terrorists on board that flight, I didn’t hear it.
Other than that, flying on Wednesday was uneventful. It was nice and sunny, no clouds in the sky. A pretty day to take to the air.
Just like Sept. 11, 2001 started out to be.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.