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Silence marks anniversary at Logan Airport
By Jennifer Peter, Associated Press, 9/11/02
BOSTON -- Silence, tears and a momentary stillness on Logan International Airport's normally hectic runways on Wednesday marked the time when the first hijacked Boston flight was lost one year ago.
At 8:46 a.m., when the first of two flights from Logan struck the World Trade Center, planes stopped on the taxiways and none were allowed to land or takeoff for one minute. Baggage personnel and fire trucks lined the tarmac.
Amid tightened security, airline employees also observed a moment of silence to remember the 156 passengers and crew members aboard the doomed American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175.
American Airlines employees gathered behind the ticket counter for a minute of reflection. In an adjacent terminal, more than 100 United Airlines workers, joined by colleagues from Delta Airlines, stood in a broad circle in the main concourse.
Some passengers felt uneasy about flying on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
Flying on Sept. 11 "brings it all back, the vulnerability that we felt that day, that it could happen to anyone, any time," said Karen Briggs of Boston, 45, traveling to Long Beach, Calif., on business Wednesday. "On the one hand you feel the remembrance, but on the other hand you feel it could happen to anyone any time, so you have to keep on living your life."
After last year's terrorist hijackings, there was a management shakeup at the airport and the agency that oversees it, the Massachusetts Port Authority, which was long considered a haven for political appointees.
While federal officials determined that the attacks were not caused by lapses at Logan, Massport's new leaders have aggressively pursued new security measures and made the airport a test site for new technologies.
Air traffic Wednesday was expected to be at the lowest level since Sept. 11, said Massport spokesman Jose Juves. Only about 15,000 passengers were expected at Logan, about one half of the daily average this week.
Being one of those passengers was important to Joel Zazyczny, who was returning to Atlanta after a business trip.
"It was kind of enticing to travel on the day, as a remembrance of the people who lost their lives," he said. "It kind of proves the strengths of Americans that we're still flying. And now a year later, we're stronger than ever."
Heavily armed state police teams patrolled the Logan terminals with police dogs. Officers also inspected the trunks of cars entering the central parking garage. Curbside baggage check-in was suspended until Thursday morning.
Lesley Sullivan, traveling to Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Kevin, said she was reassured by the security.
"I think most people think it's the safest day to travel," she said.
Hundreds of Massport and airline employees gathered in the airport's chapel for two services that mixed patriotism with prayer.
At the afternoon service, United and American employees read the names of the passengers and crew who died on the flights, as bagpipes played.
"Their faces, their spirits, will always be in our midst," the Rev. Richard Uftring said. "We promise you they will never be forgotten."
Representatives of the two airlines also spoke, thanking the employees for their support over the past year.
"Years from now our children will probably ask us what it was like," said Robert Johnston, American Airlines' customer service director at Logan. "We can tell them that the adversity we faced introduced us to ourselves."