I was a bartender for American Airlines’ lounge and was getting ready for work on,the early shift. My husband at the time had just gotten off work and was watching CNN with our 11 month old son. As I was in the kitchen getting the baby’s bag together for the sitter, iwent into the living room to glance at the news. It was then that the first plane hit. I said to my husband, ”How bad of a pilot do you have to be to fly right into a d*** tower??” We joked about how the pilot might have been enjoying the mile high club.
And then the second tower got hit.
I said that something isn’t right. Maybe they got a mixed message from the air traffic controller?
I had to head out to make it to work on time. On the way to the sitter’s house, I had the radio on and listened as they announced that the pentagon just got hit. That’s when it hit me that we were under attack. The sitter and I discussed that the airport may not be open because they were grounding all flights. I hadn’t been working this job for even 2 months yet and had to at least try to get into work. Needless to say, I was turned away at the security checkpoint. I had to go pick my son back up and could do nothong but watch the tv and see the world that my son had been born into unfold…
The airline shut the lounge down permanently a few days later. I was young and eager as the rest of the nation for revenge. I would have gone and enlisted that day if it weren’t for my son. So, I did the next best thing and applied for a security position at the airport. Within weeks of the attack, I was screening passengers as the National Guard roamed the airport lobby with hands firmly on their weapons.
Nearly a year later, TSA had been created and was rolling out my airport. I applied and joined the good fight. This month marks 9 years of my service with TSA. I would like to ask all of you to -always- remember why TSA is manning the checkpoints. Yes, there is a lot of bad press for TSA. That’s because we cannot release the good that we accomplish without exposing confidential information. TSA employees work and live every day with the past and current terrorist events in the front of our thoughts.
I know ten years is a long time. But, no one should ever, -ever-, forget for an instant what has happened in the past. And -everyone- should always be alert for what possibilities the future holds.