Chicago — It was a Monday morning at the airport, and I was recalling a Monday morning at the same airport. The date was Sept. 17, 2001.
It was the day commercial air traffic resumed in this country, and I was headed to Philadelphia for a Braves’ series. (Baseball had stopped playing, too.) It was a morning when no one knew what to expect. There wasn’t much conversation at the gate. My flight was half-full. Everyone aboard eyed those nearby very closely.
That trip would eventually take me to New York (via train) and to Ground Zero — the immensity of which could not be conveyed via TV — and ultimately to the old Shea Stadium where the Braves faced the Mets in the first sporting event in New York after Sept. 11.
As grim as the ruins of Lower Manhattan were, everything after was somehow uplifting. Just seeing a firefighter on the subway made me gawk as if he was Michael Jordan. Seeing the first responders in the lobby of the La Guardia Marriott made you want to say something, although darned if I could think what to say. And hearing the crowd at Shea chant “USA!” — as if ordained, the Mets won on Mike Piazza’s homer — made me feel, for the first time in those 10 bitter days, that there was a way through this.
And now this was another Monday at the airport, another place to go (Chicago for the NBA playoffs), and it reminded of that Monday nearly 10 years ago when we went through security not knowing if we could keep a Gillette razor (they let mine go) or nail clippers (those were confiscated at La Guardia). The man who sent the killers had himself been killed, his photo on display in every newspaper box and at every kiosk in our airport and here at Midway.
And this Monday the security line moved with its now-customary purpose and the flight, as most flights are, was full, and there was much conversation about the news of the hour. It was a Monday morning at the airport, and Osama bin Laden was dead.
By Mark Bradley