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Remembering 9-11

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Friday, September 11, 2009
American Flag photo

When you go through security checkpoints, your mind is on making sure you got the metal out of your pockets and the liquids out of your carry-on bag and what gate you need to head to afterward. Your goal is to get through and get through quickly, which means no chit chat. No time to pay attention to people. Before I worked at TSA, it was the same for me.

Two years ago, TSA employees were given the chance to share their memories of 9-11 as part of a historical archive and a way to share our experiences as an organization. I read all of the stories that were submitted, and it was a humbling experience.

One of the men who works in my building was working in the Pentagon, in the innermost circle where the plane went in. When the smoke got to his area, he used the skills he learned in the Marines, got his gas mask, and joined his colleagues in rescuing others. There were a few stories of others from the Pentagon who came to TSA as well.

If you fly through Las Vegas, you might be screened by a woman who worked on the in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. She was in the office that morning, but left the building to run an errand, and just as she was returning, the first plane hit. She tried to get back in to help her boss and colleagues, but the firemen wouldn’t let her in. She came to TSA and has committed her service to her colleagues who died and the firemen who saved her life.

A member of the military lost a colleague in the World Trade Center and another one in the Pentagon. After he retired from active duty, he wanted to continue to serve his country, so he joined TSA as a bomb appraisal officer. He’s one of the guys who comes to resolve alarms and teaches officers about explosives detection techniques.

A law enforcement officer who lost family members on the plane that hit the Pentagon joined the Federal Air Marshal Service so he could work more actively to prevent another attack.

A Transportation Security Officer in Hawaii carries a picture of an usher at her niece’s wedding with her to work every day. Shortly after the wedding, he was on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center.

There were stories of people who lived near the crash sites who witnessed the events of the day. Some were near the buildings who had to scramble to get out, and some whose lives were spared when the Towers came down because someone helped them. A wife of a NYC fireman joined TSA to do her part. People who were high school students on 9-11 shared their stories.

Most of the stories were from people who didn’t know anyone on the planes or in the buildings, but felt a call to action. Over and over, they talked about wanting to do something , wrote “Not on my watch” and pledged their service to protect their country in memory of those who died.

We know you’re in a hurry when you’re going through security, but we wanted you to know that you might be screened or helped by someone like the people who shared their stories with us.

Today, we honor the victims of 9-11 and the heroes who gave their lives while trying to save others. Around the country, TSA’s officers, inspectors, supervisors and FAMs will rededicate themselves to the mission. We will never forget.

Thanks for all you do to help TSA keep the aviation system safe. And if you’d like, share your 9-11 story in the comments section.

Lynn
TSA Blog Team Member

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Comments

Submitted by Earl Pitts on

Are you going to be censoring posts critical of how TSA has 9/11 as an excuse for continously adding restrictions on travel? You know, like you did last year?

Earl

Submitted by Bob on

Hey Earl, glad to see you could make it. Always great to hear from you, sir.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Earl is one unhappy soul....

Submitted by Anonymous on

We do not live in a perfect world and by no means is TSA perfect but thank you Bob for putting things into perspective. Some of us are at TSA for the right reasons and all of the Earls in the world cannot take that away. The moment of silence at my airport was very moving for TSA Workers as well as passengers. Thank you Bob for the arena to speak our minds whether we agree with you or not. I will never forget why I go to work everyday. I will never forget.

Submitted by Patrick (BOS TSO) on

This second to last blurb here...

"A Transportation Security Officer in Hawaii carries a picture of an usher at her niece’s wedding with her to work every day. Shortly after the wedding, he was on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center."

It sent a slight chill down my spine because...

I know that TSO, she now works here with me at Logan alongside me everyday. In fact, I happened to be in our checkpoint office when she chatting and bringing up this story with the only other TSO in the office, so when I read this. I knew who it was.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When I go through a checkpoint, I think of TSA's stupidity and arrogance and cowardice. I think of how TSA has done more in its misbegotten existence to terrorize and intimidate and scare innocent American citizens than al Qaeda could ever hope to have done when it dreamed up the 9/11 attacks. When you put on your tin badges and phony cop uniforms, you are continuing the work bin Laden started.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I remember many saying that we were attacked because others, "hated us for our freedoms."

How sad, that TSA daily, routinely tries to take some of those freedoms away.

T-the-B at FlyerTalk

Submitted by Sebastian on

Personally, although security checks are a huge inconvenience, I think that they are, at the moment anyway, a necessary evil. It seems unlikely that 9/11 could happen again, which is surely a reassuring thought.

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

I would like to offer remembrance of those that were lost, and the family members and friends that lost someone. I wish you peace.

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Oralia Soto-Vla... on

My heart goes out to those who lost a love one, hope these tough times with new goals help you get through life. Realizing today is a new day and another year has gone by might be rough.

Smile.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Until TSA does 100% employee screening I think they could care less about 9/11.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Quoted:
"Anonymous said...
When I go through a checkpoint, I think of TSA's...... September 11, 2009 11:30 PM"
-----------------------
Once again, the stupidy arrives right on cue......

Submitted by Anonymous on

"When I go through a checkpoint, I think of TSA's stupidity and arrogance and cowardice. I think of how TSA has done more in its misbegotten existence to terrorize and intimidate and scare innocent American citizens than al Qaeda could ever hope to have done when it dreamed up the 9/11 attacks. When you put on your tin badges and phony cop uniforms, you are continuing the work bin Laden started."

And I think you are a baby. You're inconvienced for 30 seconds going through TSA's checkpoint, and all you see is hated and scorn. YOU are doing bin Laden's work for him. Keep up the hate...

Submitted by Sandra on

I believe that a majority of those who died on 9/11 would be appalled at what has become of this country since that day - and the TSA is a huge factor in that.

Submitted by Brenda on

To Anonymous 9/11 at 11:30p

TSA is here to help the people and our country be safe from those people who want to harm!
As I look around at the small town that I live in, I can't believe all the terror that happens. I just don't understand when we try and do good for our town someone just comes in and ruins it for everyone with no respect taken, no care, just ignorance!
What do you do when a Police Officer speaks to you? A Doctor? A pilot or a homeless person on the streets? Are you that mad at the world or yourself that you have to disrespect. We are already going through so much with government issues, concerns for our future, the next generation, economy, destruction, the list goes on and on and it's frustrating, depressing and of course the list goes on.
We scare ourselves!

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Wow what rude comments, good job honoring america. Here is my story about 9/11. I was in High School here at Ketchikan High School Alaska. I was sitting in english class when the principal came on the intercom and informed all teachers in the building to turn on their classroom television sets. The school had turned all sets onto the news channel broadcasting the images of the planes crashing into the towers. The first image I saw was a dust cload and debris coming at a person filming in a street, I thought it was a movie commercial. Then they replayed the clip of the plane hitting the tower and the entire school went silent. We went the whole day from class to class doing nothing but watching the television, no school work was done and there was silence in the school. The other thing I remember is for the first time in my entire life the following week, I saw more american flags than any 4th of july I have ever witnessed. People were standing up and uniteing in a way I never thought possible in current america.

Thats my story

Submitted by Anonymous on

"As I look around at the small town that I live in, I can't believe all the terror that happens."

What terrorism has taken place in your small town, exactly?

Submitted by RB on

TSOWilliamReed said...
Wow what rude comments, good job honoring america.
..........................
The comments are not directed at those who fell or lost loved ones on 9/11.
We all remember those who suffered.

The comments are clearly directed at a government agency that seems to have little concern for violating the law, abusing a limited Administrative Search and trying to convince the public that they are responsible for no additional attacks by terrorist.

Now if that government agency just happens to be TSA so be it.

Ask yourself why TSA is one of the most hated agencies ever conceived.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Who the comments are directed at do not matter. You do not go to the presidents 9/11 rememberance speach and yell at him for not fixing the economy or saving health care. You save that for a different day. It is just rude and uncalled for, save your TSA flaming and comments for a different blog. This blog is about remembering and to bring up negativity like that is just rude and uncalled for.

Submitted by RB on

TSOWilliamReed said...

.................
I say abuses of the Constitution and of the law by TSA employees is rude and uncalled for.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Sandra said...
I believe that a majority of those who died on 9/11 would be appalled at what has become of this country since that day - and the TSA is a huge factor in that."

I believe that every single person who lost their lives that day would have loved to have gone through the screening process as it is today in order to have just one more minute with their loved ones, if only to just say Good Bye.

Submitted by Dunstan on

I lost a parent in a plane crash a number of years before 9/11. My deepest sympathy goes out to all who were affected by 9/11.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sandra said...
I believe that a majority of those who died on 9/11 would be appalled at what has become of this country since that day - and the TSA is a huge factor in that."

Anonymous said...
I believe that every single person who lost their lives that day would have loved to have gone through the screening process as it is today in order to have just one more minute with their loved ones, if only to just say Good Bye.


I believe that is wrong and quite disrespectfult for anyone to try and speculate what these people would or wouldn't do today. They are tragic victims of a terrible attack, not pawns in your arguments. These were cherished family members and friends. Whether you are for or against TSA is your own business, but 9/11 should be a day to remember those who were lost, those who fought to live, those who lost their lives trying to help others, and those who continue to fight so that others may live in freedom. It is so sad that 8 years later we can not set aside our differences for just ONE day to honor these people just as we did in the weeks following this horrific event.
It is our inability to stand united despite our differing opinions that will be the demise of our country.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is your excuse for the treatment of Dave Davies?

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Anonymous said...

I believe that is wrong and quite disrespectfult for anyone to try and speculate what these people would or wouldn't do today. They are tragic victims of a terrible attack, not pawns in your arguments. These were cherished family members and friends. Whether you are for or against TSA is your own business, but 9/11 should be a day to remember those who were lost, those who fought to live, those who lost their lives trying to help others, and those who continue to fight so that others may live in freedom. It is so sad that 8 years later we can not set aside our differences for just ONE day to honor these people just as we did in the weeks following this horrific event.
It is our inability to stand united despite our differing opinions that will be the demise of our country.

-------------

Thank you

Submitted by Anonymous on

The beauty of our country is that we can voice our difference of opinion! Thanks to all that try to protect all of us regardless of what we think or feel.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Quote from Anonymous: "I believe that every single person who lost their lives that day would have loved to have gone through the screening process as it is today in order to have just one more minute with their loved ones, if only to just say Good Bye."

And despite all of that, TSA's screening process still wouldn't have saved them if it had been in existence at the time.

For me 9/11 was a day of reflection. One to honor those that died. And one of great sadness, not just for the event that happened (that was terribly sad), but for the degradation of freedom, in transportation and elsewhere, and what we've allowed America to become. America cannot continue to be the bastion of freedom when its citizens are so willing to give up those freedom for assurances of safety.

Speaking out against the loss of such freedom, even when TSA is a part of it, is not giving aid and comfort to Al Qaida as some have described. On the contrary, speaking out against them is the only way to wake up the populace so Usama bin Laden doesn't keep laughing his tail off at us while he sits in some cave in Pakistan.

Someone said that 9/11 should not be used as a pawn in arguments for political ends. I agree. TSA, DHS and the rest of the government need to stop using it for that.

It saddens me to see how far we've fallen as a nation in just 8 years. Every 9/11, I only get sadder.

Robert

Submitted by Anonymous on

To all the Earl Pitts and TSA haters I ask you this, what branch of service did you serve in? Did you ever have to leave home and family and fight a war? If you answered no to this then you need to never complain again because you did not earn the right!!

Submitted by Monica on

I feel sorry for those who lost their family members on this terrible morning.

R.I.P those innocent people who lost their lives on 9/11 to the NYFD,NYPD,the Victims, and to anyone else who lost their lives on 9/11 the words that everyone said on that day "We Will Never Forget."

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
To all the Earl Pitts and TSA haters I ask you this, what branch of service did you serve in? Did you ever have to leave home and family and fight a war? If you answered no to this then you need to never complain again because you did not earn the right!!

September 12, 2009 8:06 PM
......................
23 years USN.

Now where and how long did you serve Anon?

Submitted by Dunstan on

Anonymous said...

"To all the Earl Pitts and TSA haters I ask you this, what branch of service did you serve in? Did you ever have to leave home and family and fight a war? If you answered no to this then you need to never complain again because you did not earn the right!!"

I am saddened by your own hatred and anger. Everyone has a right to an opinion, and the right to express it. Just because you don't agree with them, it doesn't mean that they are wrong to speak out, or should be silenced. Freedom of speech is one of the foundations of our country and constitution.
"My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." Senator Carl Shurtz

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

I think that as important as it is to remember the lessons of 9/11/2009, it's even more important to remember the lessons of 9/12/2009

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a TSO I must say that people will never fully agree with what they do. When I fly, I'm not a big fan of the TSA policies, but I know why they exist, and I know that it does keep me safe. So in all honesty, can we please stop complaining about TSOs like myself and move on. You know the liquid rules, just follow them. I don't hire a contractor and then complain when he tells me that loud noises are part of his job. I just go to work and do my job, please just let us do our job and keep you safe with as little hassle as possible.

Submitted by Ordis on

The moment of silence at my airport was very moving for TSA Workers as well as passengers. Thank you Bob for the arena to speak our minds whether we agree with you or not.

Submitted by Manny on

When we held the moment of silence at our airport, not one person complained nor protested that we had stopped for 60 seconds to honor those who were killed that day. In fact, many passengers and crew members stopped to bow their heads during that moment.

So while I read some of the negative comments in here, it seems that none of those people were at my airport last Friday.

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
As a TSO I must say that people will never fully agree with what they do. When I fly, I'm not a big fan of the TSA policies, but I know why they exist, and I know that it does keep me safe. So in all honesty, can we please stop complaining about TSOs like myself and move on. You know the liquid rules, just follow them. I don't hire a contractor and then complain when he tells me that loud noises are part of his job. I just go to work and do my job, please just let us do our job and keep you safe with as little hassle as possible.

September 12, 2009 10:39 PM
..........................

Your suggesting that we (people who fly commercial air) should just accept what TSA does without question.

I say no.

Publish all the rules we must comply with.

Show us how these rules increase safety.

Abide by the rules TSA has established and stop exceeding the limited Administrative Search for WEI which is all TSA is authorized to do.

One major tenet of the United States is the ability of the people to question our government. TSA is part of that government.

When TSA starts acting in a lawful manner then I will stop asking questions.

Submitted by Phil on

As everyone reflects, I'd like to remind them that as reported by Peter Tatchel of The Guardian on September 12 2007, chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have since stated that they were "set up to fail" and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation. They also confirm that they were denied access to the truth and misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the federal aviation authority; and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate slapping officials with criminal charges. Also note that despite the many public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to, not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.

The final report did not examine key evidence, and neglected serious anomalies in the various accounts of what happened. The commissioners admit their report was incomplete and flawed, and that many questions about the disaster remain unanswered. Despite these unanswered questions, the 9/11 Commission was closed down on August 21, 2004.

Submitted by Phil on
William Rodriquez helped 15 people from the WTC to safety, and as Rodriguez was the only person at the site with the master key to the North Tower stairwells, he bravely led firefighters up the stairwell, unlocking doors as they ascended, thereby aiding in the successful evacuation of unknown hundreds of those who survived. Rodriguez, at great risk to his own life, re-entered the Towers three times after the first, North Tower impact at about 8:46 A.M., and is believed to be the last person to exit the falling North Tower alive, surviving the building's collapse by diving beneath a fire truck. After receiving medical attention at the WTC site for his injuries, Rodriguez spent the rest of 9/11 aiding as a volunteer in the rescue efforts, and at dawn the following morning, was back at Ground Zero continuing his heroic efforts.

He was the last man out.
Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

RB said...
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB125270793866604679.html?mod=BOL_hpp_...

or tiny:

http://tinyurl.com/rbenxc

TSA: Taxes Spent Absurdly

While remembering 9/11 and all those who died or suffered me think reflection on where we are today is warranted.
---------------

RB I am really curious what TSA ever did to you that makes you hate them so much. TSA is not a rampant monstrous evil agency like you say it is. Barack Obama use to have bad feelings for TSA. However after becoming president and learning of what TSA does and fights every day not only did he change his mind about the budget cuts he was going to make towards TSA, he actually gave TSA a bonus with the economic stimulus money. With that said, when I as a TSO tell you that what TSA does every day matters and that I can not tell you about it because our government does not want the general public to know what we fight every day, would you believe me. If the government wasn’t proud of what TSA does every day or if we really are just security theatre then why would the American government ask TSA for help making the presidential inauguration secure? I am guessing no one noticed the TSOs working hard at the security checkpoints during the inauguration.

Submitted by Dizi Izle on

We don't want to remember 9-11. We just want to forget it. Hope we never live such a bad thing :(

Submitted by Earl Pitts on

Yes, I'm an unhappy soul, in some respects anyway. I'm unhappy with how TSA has abused and trampled on 9/11 for its own ends. It's not an appropriate tribute for those that died on that day, nor those that lived thru it either.

I don't think it's relevant where I've served. Suffice it to say I have served and continue to serve my country. Speaking out against the government is not a right I "earn" but one protected under the constitution. And it's one I work to protect every day. I'm sorry if anyone disagrees with my utilization of that right to express that opinion. I'm sorry that they don't get that that right is one of the things that makes this country great.

I AM glad that TSA is letting us have this discussion this year. It wasn't afforded to us last year.

Agree or disagree with my opinion. That's your perogative and your right. That doesn't necessarily make me wrong or an unhappy person simply because I'm not a "rah rah" for TSA.

9/11 means different things to different people. And just because someone has a different meaning and observance for it doesn't make their way wrong and yours right.

Earl

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Anonymous wrote:
To all the Earl Pitts and TSA haters I ask you this, what branch of service did you serve in? Did you ever have to leave home and family and fight a war? If you answered no to this then you need to never complain again because you did not earn the right!!

My service in the United States Air Force gives them the right you say they don't have.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"never forget" = "keep being afraid while your rights are taken away"

Submitted by Anonymous on

anyone have good number to check on twic wavier!!!!!!!!!! been waiting for five or six months and havent heard nothing

Submitted by Anonymous on

any news on twic waiver

Submitted by Anonymous on

To those who have suggested that those who have not completed military service don't have the right to complain: 1) The Constitution is founded on the principle that all men (however defined) are born with certain rights. These rights can be violated, but one never has to "earn" them in the first place. 2) Perhaps you'd like to explain how your military service has done anything in concrete terms to protect my right to bad-mouth the military. I know that people say this all the time, but I really fail to understand how American soldiers who were killed unsuccessfully attempting to keep Saigon from becoming Ho Chi Minh city, or those who are unsuccessfully trying to keep Kabul from falling to the Taliban have done anything that has anything to do with protecting my right to criticize them.

Submitted by Anonymous on
TSOWilliamReed said...
With that said, when I as a TSO tell you that what TSA does every day matters and that I can not tell you about it because our government does not want the general public to know what we fight every day, would you believe me.
This is precisely why we don’t believe the TSA and its employees. If the TSA was doing something more than checking for guns, knives, and explosives that was providing some sort of invaluable service to the United States. There would be press releases galore, you’re not the CIA where what the TSA does on daily basis is top secret.
If the government wasn’t proud of what TSA does every day or if we really are just security theatre then why would the American government ask TSA for help making the presidential inauguration secure? I am guessing no one noticed the TSOs working hard at the security checkpoints during the inauguration.
The Secret Service needed a way to free up as many of its agents as possible to protect the president given the crowds that were anticipated. Having TSO’s, man a screening checkpoint under the supervision of a single Secret Service agent allowed them to make better use of their manpower. Since the TSA runs background checks on its staff it saved the time and hassle they would have to go through of hiring a private company.
You’re not Jack Bauer saving the world from terrorists. You are single layer in the security and intelligence organizations at the federal level and a low level one at that. If a terrorist incident occurs at an airport that will be because the FBI, CIA, NSA, and their military counterparts have failed to gather the intelligence needed to stop these incidents. Similar to the manner in which the British intelligence agencies were able to prevent the people involved in the liquid explosive attack from ever getting near the airport.
Submitted by RB on

RB I am really curious what TSA ever did to you that makes you hate them so much. TSA is not a rampant monstrous evil agency like you say it is. Barack Obama use to have bad feelings for TSA. However after becoming president and learning of what TSA does and fights every day not only did he change his mind about the budget cuts he was going to make towards TSA, he actually gave TSA a bonus with the economic stimulus money. With that said, when I as a TSO tell you that what TSA does every day matters and that I can not tell you about it because our government does not want the general public to know what we fight every day, would you believe me. If the government wasn’t proud of what TSA does every day or if we really are just security theatre then why would the American government ask TSA for help making the presidential inauguration secure? I am guessing no one noticed the TSOs working hard at the security checkpoints during the inauguration.

September 13, 2009 5:34 PM

................................
Before shoes were required to be removed I was transiting DFW. A sign before the WTMD clearly stated shoes did not have to be removed. I chose not to do so since injury to my feet could be life threatening. The TSO told me I had to remove the shoes, I showed him the sign and got a secondary for my efforts.

FLL TSO attempted a suspected theft from my spouses purse just as it exited xray. Reported same and was told we all have to put up with increased screening. A cover up by FLL FSD on down in my opinion.

DFW TDC, just a basic AH!

...just a few examples...

TSA abuse of the Constitution and the rights of the people is well documented. All it takes is a bit of reading and almost weekly new examples of TSA doing wrong are made public.

If TSA is doing such good work I think the public should know more. Secrecy (and SSI is not a valid security classification) is not in the best interest of the people.

How about something simple like publishing the rules we have to comply with to simply transit a TSA checkpoint.

Or explain why ID improves safety if a person is properly screened.

Or how Gate Checks are needed if TSA checkpoints are doing proper screening.

Or why all people who enter the secure areas of airports should not be screened.

Or why BDO's, who have extremely high false positives can cause a person to be screened in a manner that exceeds any practical limit like a recent college student was.

I didn't know about the Economic Stimulus Funds being given to TSA. I think that is an abuse of what those monies were meant for. I will be contacting my CongressCritters and asking why these funds have been improperly allocated.

As for using TSA employees for political events, sporting events or any other event that is not transportation related I think that is an abuse of taxpayers goodwill. TSA has no charter that allows for this misappropriation.

I don't hate TSA as you claim but I am not happy with what the TSA is doing to my country. Neither are most of the people who come into contact with TSA.

Read any article about TSA published anywhere and then the comments if there are any. Favorable comments are few and far between. I think you and TSA should be asking why that is.

Is the majority of people who come into contact with TSA all wrong?

I think not!

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