Remembering Sept. 11

I’m at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. The Miller Center has gathered 50-60 experts on all modes of transport to talk about how we build the transportation system of the future, in a time of growing deficits and reduced federal financial resources. 

pentagon 9-11 memorial

Sept. 11 Memorial at the Pentagon. (Photo by Amanda McLean.)


But, this being September 11, we were reminded this morning by former Governor Gerald Baliles, Miller Center Director of the 2001 attacks and we were given the opportunity to recognize the great work that day of former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who is in attendance here today. 

Because of Norm’s quick work, and that of so many at the FAA, including the air traffic control workforce, thousands of planes were safely brought to the ground that morning. They deserve our lasting gratitude. 

What happened that day will never be forgotten by anyone, and the experience is seared into those of us who were in New York or Washington that day. 

In the immediate aftermath, the aviation system was closed down for several days. The skies were eerily silent. In the years since, so many in industry and government have worked to keep that from happening again. 

We must remember that the purpose of aviation is the movement of people and products. We must also realize that vigilance will always be required to keep the system safe and secure and working efficiently. 

I think all of us would agree that the screening process has improved greatly, and I appreciate the work TSA and its people do every day, even those days when I don’t agree with everything they do. 

I have an appreciation for all that goes into the gathering of intelligence that stops attacks before they can even form, and for the fact that much of that is gathered at some risk to people who work hard to gather it. 

There is a lot of work that goes into preventing a repeat of Sept 11, 2001, and a lot that goes into keeping the system running safely and efficiently. 

I am proud to be part of an airport industry that has really stepped up to the plate these past years, and to work with so many in the government, airlines and others who share that commitment.

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