At Logan, Silence And Normalcy On Sept. 11

By Phillip Martin

Sept. 12, 2011

American Airlines ticket agent Vita Ahrens, left, and passenger Chris Walton, of Falmouth, Mass., observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. at Logan International Airport in Boston, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. American Flt. 11 took off from Logan and was crashed into the World Trade Center in New York at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP)

BOSTON — The scene at Logan Airport Sunday was anything but sedate. On the anniversary of September 11th, thousands of passengers passed through the nation’s eighth-busiest airport, but memories of ten years to the day bore heavily on the minds of many travelers.

With a small carry-on bag by his side, Allen Cohen, a Boston-area businessman, made his way toward the United Counter for a flight to Houston. Ten years ago, he was standing by for a U.S. Air Shuttle to LaGuardia for a meeting at the World Trade Center in Manhattan. He had missed his usual 6:00 a.m. flight.

"So I was on a 7:00 a.m. shuttle on U.S. Air to LaGuardia. The company I was going to visit actually still a client of ours. It was one of our trustees. Our board of trustees and it was our first meeting and he didn’t make it," Cohen said.

Darlene Crifo brings flowers to Logan Airport every year on Sept. 11. (Phillip Martin/WGBH)

Cohen said he was traveling Sunday because he had to for his job. Others, like Tom Hurlehey, from Quincy, were at Logan by choice. Hurlehey said just being at the airport was an act of defiance in the face of terrorism.

"I’m determined not to be concerned about traveling. I don’t think I should have to worry. It’s just that simple," he said.

Dozens of passengers lined up at Jet Blue and American echoed that sentiment.

Marla Ohlendorf was heading back to St. Louis. "Of all days, this is going to be the safest. We have noticed the heightened police presence," Ohlendorf said.

And then exactly at 8:46 am at Logan — the time when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the first tower — he luggage conveyer belts shut down, airline employees stopped issuing tickets and, for a moment, at least, there again seemed to be unity of purpose.

When that moment of silence ended, United ticket agent Luz Barlocello turned again to her customers but found it difficult to stop the tears. She had worked the same counter 10 years ago.

"It was very sas because I was here and I checked some of the passengers," Barlocello said.

On the counter was a bouquet of flowers that had just been delivered by Darlene Crifo, a FedEx employee. Crifo then rushed toward the American Airlines terminal with asters, roses and sun flowers.

All in all, the day at Logan airport on Sunday seemed almost like a normal travel day. And for many passing through the airport, that was exactly the point.

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