Last Friday was the anniversary of September 11. I dedicated a part of the day watching a few shows about the events that unfolded on that tragic morning. I saw one documentary, 9/11: Escape from the Towers, that was new for me. Survivors of both towers recounted what it was like to leave their offices in the World Trade Center, and try to find a way out. Their spouses also shared what it was like to watch the news coverage, fearing for the worst, and hoping for the best news possible.
Even though I knew that the people sharing their stories made it out of the towers, I still experienced the fear that they conveyed in telling what it was like to move into and down a stairwell, unsure of what had happened above them or what they would find if they were able to get out of the building. At the end of the documentary, viewers were able to meet the survivors, and what they look like today. On September 11, 2001, one of the women was 7 months pregnant. Her daughter, who is now 18, was introduced as one of the youngest survivors.
Like many people, I relive that day as if it just happened. Our lives changed on that day. Whether we think about it or not, some of the decisions we make are influenced by the events of September 11th. There is a new normal that exists for all of us. Airline travel has never been the same. We have to arrive at the airport two hours before a flight in order to navigate security. Each person must present some form of picture identification. There are luggage restrictions and guidelines for what we can pack and what we can carry. Liquids over 3 ounces are not allowed. So, if one arrives at the airport with a bottle of water, one has to finish it before going through security or throw it away.
I remember when all of the restrictions were new, how awful it was to fly from one city to another. Taking one’s shoes off was torture as we all struggled to get them back on and keep the security lines moving. Unintentionally we’d set off metal detectors as we forgot keys or change in our pockets or didn’t realize that there was metal in our jackets. People were frustrated and sometimes short-tempered because of what was being asked of them. It was new, it was different. It was complicated.
It took time for us to adjust to the new rules for flying. But over time, the new way changed. Now there are several options for security check-ins. There’s an app for that now, along with TSA PreCheck and Clear. The scanning equipment is more sophisticated, and photo id’s now have a chip in them to help the process. Those who manage passengers will continue to adapt to the needs of those who travel so that we can all stay safe.
We are still in the midst of a pandemic. We are already living in a new way, adjusting to the guidelines which have been created to keep us safe. Social distancing, wearing masks, and gathering in smaller numbers are still a part of what we are being asked to do. It will take time for any of this to be routine or comfortable. Please know that we are not alone. Together we can support one another during this time, as we grow more accustomed to what is being asked of us. May we continue to be patient and offer understanding during these days. And Amen.