On September 11, 2016, I awoke in a Las Vegas hotel room with less than enough time to spare to get to the airport. Our flight left in two hours and I was on the Las Vegas strip. We frantically stuffed our things in the carry-on suitcases’ my mom and I had brought for the two-day stay. We called an Uber and were en route to the airport.
Upon arrival we said thank you to the driver and walked through the automatic glasses doors. Passing several pairs of security and police officers, I couldn’t help but notice the Homeland Security logo on a couple vehicles parked out front. After checking in and printing out our tickets we saw the unusually long line for security. Assuming it was always this way after the weekend we joined in line.
Standing there for a couple minutes the line began to move. It was set up like a maze, blocked off by the black elastic poles that outline where you should stand. Switchback after switchback we got to the middle of the small maze to find a drug dog walking back and forth with its handler. “Well that’s different,” I thought to myself, but kept walking through the line.
We stopped again and I looked at my ticket to see what gate we were going to be at, and that’s when I realized the date. It was September 11th. The date that changed millions of lives around the country and world and I was about to get on board two aircrafts. Instantly I became overwhelmed with anxiety. It's hard to not think the worst on this day considering the history it holds and the wars still active.
Going through security went pretty quick considering the amount of people in line. However once our boarding passes were checked and we were taking our shoes off to go through the body scanner, we were told not to. No one took liquids out of their bags. Everyone kept their shoes on. "But why?" I asked the man instructing us to do so. "It's your lucky day," he responded. "Keep everything in your bags and shoes on everyone, " he continues to shout. I was very thrown off by this. Those requirements were implemented after the terrorist attacks, so why on a day such as this, were we not required to do the things they believe to keep everyone safe and secure? Due to all of these lifted restrictions, everyone got through security fast and easy.
Other than security being as it was before 2001, everything went per usual. Everyone seemed to be acting normal and the flights went as planned. I was quite nervous and admit to looking around in an anxious state trying to see if anyone looked suspicious. It was hard to not to keep an eye out for something to go wrong in situations like such. The flight attendants seemed to use 'safe' and 'secure' more often than I recall from any other flight, but that could be myself just picking out such words. As I said, everything went smooth.
Usually, on this day I'm thankful to be on the ground. One of my biggest fears is falling out the sky, no matter the circumstance. As I get older I seem to despise flying more and more. I don't know if it's the tedious process or the constant images in my head of the towers falling to the ground, and envisioning that could be me.
September 11th is a day of reflection for many and a day of remembrance for others. Some reflect on the events and where they were watching the news that day and recall how things used to be before such terror filled our nation. Some remember the family and friends they lost that day and have lost since the war began. For those individuals, it's more than just a day of remembrance to mark the anniversary of a tragedy.
This was my experience being in the air on September 11th. I was disappointed in myself for not even realizing the day had come. And once I realized it had, I became terrified. I couldn't help but think of all the families affected by this tragedy and those still fighting for our country as a result of it. I realized that my anxiety and fear to fly on this day was nothing in comparison to them.