Another Monday morning at the airport, 9 1/2 years later

For some reason, I felt like buying newspapers today. (Photo by M. Bradley)

For some reason, I felt like buying a bunch of newspapers today. (Photo by M. Bradley)

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

42 comments Add your comment

Joe Tess Fish House

May 2nd, 2011
2:01 pm

Mark Bradley

May 2nd, 2011
2:03 pm

So “first” you forgot the “r,” Joe Tess. But kudos.

todd grantham

May 2nd, 2011
2:04 pm

But we’ll still have to take our shoes off before getting on a plane. Sigh.

todd grantham

May 2nd, 2011
2:07 pm

it’s like the first day of the rest of our lives

Mark Bradley

May 2nd, 2011
2:07 pm

Yeah, but we’re used to it. We’ve accepted it. And moved on.

Bryan G.

May 2nd, 2011
2:07 pm

Mark – does Chicago have a “mayor” up there you can taunt?

DawginLex

May 2nd, 2011
2:08 pm

I went to the UK/Florida football game the next Saturday in Lexington. I can still remember the crowd, the on-field activities before the game and how the entire stadium roared together. It didn’t matter if it was Kentucky or florida folks. We were all Americans that day. I still get chills thinking about it.

todd grantham

May 2nd, 2011
2:08 pm

Yellow Jacket Fan

May 2nd, 2011
2:09 pm

Great article Mark!

Mark Bradley

May 2nd, 2011
2:10 pm

Believe it or not … I’m doing Chicago TV tonight.

And I believe the mayor of Chicago is the Hon. Rahm Emanuel.

todd grantham

May 2nd, 2011
2:11 pm

security is of course necessary, but it’s no fun when you get a surley or barney fife type TSA inspector patting you down.

Bryan G.

May 2nd, 2011
2:13 pm

Don’t taunt that guy, Mark. He wouldn’t let that crisis go to waste. I also hear he’s a potty mouth

todd grantham

May 2nd, 2011
2:14 pm

interesting that a fellow can be elected mayor when his legal residence is in DC. i know the illinois supreme court said otherwise, but it’s like common-law marriage. the assumption is your address is where you “stay”.

Dirk Norwinski

May 2nd, 2011
2:25 pm

Turns out J-Smoove was flying back and forth all weekend, as he was a member of the S.E.A.L. team that got Bin Laden. With that gone, hopefully he will finally be able to focus 100% on the basketball game, for once…

joe

May 2nd, 2011
2:37 pm

My first trip after 911 was ATL to WPB. When we arrived at the concourse in West Palm, there was an Army guy in full fatigues holding a machine gun. Chilling…Burn in he!! Osama.

juvenal

May 2nd, 2011
2:42 pm

maybe joe meant fist pump…not too jamal like lately…d a posted a site for a gruesome pic on the GT baseball blog-(tess, that is)

WhoCares?

May 2nd, 2011
2:45 pm

We’ve hardly ended any concerns about our security, but everyone sure feels better today because Osama is dead. Congratulations to those Navy Seals and all the planners of this operation, especially including President Obama. No politics here –just good news for the world.

Ted Striker

May 2nd, 2011
2:50 pm

Most surreal experience I recall from flying once flights resumed was being the sole passenger on a late night flight on a Delta jet from NOLA to Atlanta. I could’ve sat anywhere except in the cockpit.

Rick

May 2nd, 2011
3:08 pm

Those packestaneees sure were searching hard for him. A large compound 30 minutes out of their largest city!! Cost one million. Built 4-5 years ago. Large 18 foot walls! That’s like a 10 million compound here. What a joke.

Alan

May 2nd, 2011
3:14 pm

I flew to NY La G during the week of August 27-31st.Can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Just glad the SOB is rotting in the ocean. Feel sorry for any marine life that comes in contact with him.

The Original WDE

May 2nd, 2011
3:28 pm

AMERICA.

Bush with the win, Obama with the save.

collegeballfan

May 2nd, 2011
3:29 pm

Nice, creative piece of writing Bradley. Nice.

Michael in Dunwoody

May 2nd, 2011
3:33 pm

Great article Mark. Go Hawks.

just a fan

May 2nd, 2011
3:36 pm

I remember being at Cazadores restaurant in east cobb watching that Braves-Mets game after 9/11, At the beginning of the game, when the national anthem was sung, the entire restaurant stood and sung right along. When it was over, everyone cheered and chanted USA-USA. Still get goosebumps to this day thinking about it

Sonny Clusters

May 2nd, 2011
3:43 pm

“Believe it or not … I’m doing Chicago TV tonight.” We was wondering if we can watch?

TSA Screeners = American Freedoms Erased

May 2nd, 2011
3:44 pm

Did you smoke a cigarette afterwards with your “friendly” TSA Screener, Mark?

10-1 Lead After 3

May 2nd, 2011
3:48 pm

Less than a month after 9/11 the Braves went quietly in the playoffs, as I recall. That season a vastly inferior Arizona team managed to win the championship. Sports is inexorable.

Ken Stallings

May 2nd, 2011
3:52 pm

The Original WDE,

Nice baseball analogy there! Bush started, Obama went in and closed the deal! Well done!

Dbalcer

May 2nd, 2011
4:04 pm

I remember the feeling in Sanford Stadium the first game after 9/11 what a wonderful experience it was to come together and play football and we all sang the anthem and cheered loudly for our teams. Today is a good day.

SiddyBoy

May 2nd, 2011
4:24 pm

Dead and in Hell !!!

Buckeye

May 2nd, 2011
4:33 pm

Today, Obama became my President.

Tomorrow’s another day.

Joe Tess Fish House

May 2nd, 2011
4:35 pm

I remeber when we talked spots around here. There is a politcs blog or 2 elsewhare.

Buckeye

May 2nd, 2011
4:37 pm

Yo Joe,

Go ahead. Talk sports.

UGASlobberknocker

May 2nd, 2011
4:45 pm

Nice to see Obama joining the whale poop at the bottom of the ocean,,although the poop may be a bit disgusted.

Bin Laden's last vision: a Navy Seal

May 2nd, 2011
4:55 pm

Well written Mark. I was traveling in Hong Kong on 9/11 and was most heartened by the empathy of everyone there. Met several ex-pats in a bar that night, and they all promised that they ‘had our backs’. Two days later, I remember freezing in place and locking eyes with a middle eastern man as we both boarded a flight to Bangkok, fear in my eyes and his … his because he could see mine. I felt sorry for my reaction and for him – and won’t ever forget it. RIP Bin Laden

[...] The Tuesday print edition of the AJC will include columns by a number of our writers about the killing of Osama bin Laden (I’ll add more links as they’re [...]

blazer

May 2nd, 2011
5:27 pm

THE NAVY SEALS DID THE CLOSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

headley lamar

May 2nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Bush spent 8 years looking for boogie men ( WMD ) in Iraq.

When Obama took office he made getting Bin laden priority one.

When he was found he then ordered the Navy Seals to finish the job.

Sorry but Obama gets the complete game win on this one.

Skeezix

May 2nd, 2011
6:03 pm

USA, USA!!! The bastard is finally dead!!! He is certainly right now in hell. Let’s all take time to give thanks tonight to all those behind the raid, our special forces, and our creator.

Osama Baby Mama

May 2nd, 2011
11:31 pm

BOO GOT SHOT !!

BOO GOT SHOT !!

Sven Ottke

May 3rd, 2011
2:29 pm

headley lamar, you polarize enough on Bookman and Tucker’s blog. Don’t bring that crap to this side of the sight. You insult the brave Seal 6 by politicizing this. Leave at home.

And how can you dare say RIP Bin Laden at 4:55, Bin Laden’s last vison? More like rot in hell!!

navy seals team 6

May 5th, 2011
5:06 am