Friday, August 26, 2011

TSA Remembers 9/11: Stories From Our Workforce

Each individual employee’s personal story is priceless to our legacy. It’s important for an agency to know how far they’ve come and who has helped pave the way. TSA’s Historian Project realized the importance of this and built an online tool called StoryLine to capture these stories. StoryLine allows our employees to share their stories via an internal page viewable by all TSA and DHS employees. The first installment of StoryLine stories are centered on 9/11 and how the day inspired people to make the decision to work for TSA.

The stories posted were so good that we wanted to share some of them with our readers. Here are few excerpts:
“I mostly remember the flags that clear bright September day. I know that sounds odd, and I should have remembered something more striking or sacred, or feelings of vengeance perhaps, but the flags spoke and expressed my feelings in a way I could not.” (Read the entire story)
“Grey concrete dust was thick, covering every surface including the trees and sound was muffled by the virtual insulation which was maybe six inches deep. The scene was surreal.” (Read the entire story)
“We asked the photographers to help us dig. To their credit they put their cameras down and helped us. We went to an NYPD emergency truck that was blown sideways like a toy. We grabbed some shovels and pickaxes and dug frantically until we realized the futility of it.” (Read the entire story)
“When the first tower collapsed it was so surreal. This wasn't happening, I had to leave and go home. When the second tower collapsed I felt emptiness, a disconnection from my husband. I waited by the phone to hear from my husband.... The only communication was from our cable TV. Friends and neighbor would stop by, hoping that my husband would call.” (Read the entire story)
“Being an Army-trained Combat Lifesaver, I immediately ran toward the destruction – as so many of us did. Rendering emergency first aid, carrying casualties, everything and anything to help in this disaster is what we did.  For 22 straight hours, we did whatever we could on that HeliPad.” (Read the entire story)
“Germany became hauntingly quiet. A despondency swept the nation. German nationals stopped Americans on the street to shake their hands and offer condolences… often without words. Yet language differences did not inhibit understanding.” (Read the entire story)
“We were assigned a photography mission to further document the devastation. I nearly became fixated while circling in a steep bank to allow a State Police photographer to document the core of the destruction. The sight was, at once, exhilarating, mesmerizing and woeful. To know what had been there, and to now see into the bowels of the Trade Center’s core was overwhelming. I had to fight myself back into reality and remember I was piloting a helicopter in extreme conditions at low level!!”  (Read the entire story)
We selected a total of 28 stories to share from all across the US and surrounding territories. You can read the rest of the stories here. I could go on about how these stories are examples of the patriotism and  dedication our employees share for TSA’s mission, but I think the stories will speak for themselves.


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

46 comments:

GSOLTSO said...

Excellent stories. Thank you to all that submitted them - thank you for sharing about this part of your lives and history.

West
TSA Blog team

JustSayin said...

Thank you TSA for this touching rememberance of one of America's darkest days.

Never Forget 9/11.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
Thank you TSA for this touching rememberance of one of America's darkest days.

Americans have very short memories. In the list of America's darkest days 9/11 wouldn't even make the top 10. If you want dark days to remember how about Washington's winter at Valley Forge, the Civil War battle at Gettysburg or December 7, 1941.

Anonymous said...

December 7, 1941
Never Forget!

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said...
Thank you TSA for this touching rememberance of one of America's darkest days.

Americans have very short memories. In the list of America's darkest days 9/11 wouldn't even make the top 10. If you want dark days to remember how about Washington's winter at Valley Forge, the Civil War battle at Gettysburg or December 7, 1941.

August 27, 2011 8:59 AM


Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong.

Sandra said...

"Thank you TSA for this touching rememberance of one of America's darkest days."

In one way, JustSayin is correct as look what we have as a result:

The Patriot Act
Department of Homeland Security
TSA

all insults to this once great nation.

Anonymous said...

Some may see you as an insult to this great nation.

Anonymous said...

Anon +1

Sandra - 0

Sandra said...

Hmmmmm, 2 minutes apart in posting. I wonder if they both have the same IP address. Some poor soul having to toot his own horn.

"Anonymous said...
Some may see you as an insult to this great nation.

August 27, 2011 7:07 PM

Anonymous said...
Anon +1

Sandra - 0

August 27, 2011 7:09 PM"

Celia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, 2 minutes apart in posting. I wonder if they both have the same IP address. Some poor soul having to toot his own horn.
-------------------------------

Considering that the time listed is when the post is submitted, not the time the post is approved, something is not right.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong."

Thanks, JustSayin!! We'd knew you'd recognize 9/11 as a power grab by the Federal Government. Given the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Viet Nam, there's no way 9/11 qualifies as one of the 10 worst days in America.

Thanks, JustSayin, for recognizing that the TSA is just a large bureaucracy just trying to maintain jobs.

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said:
"Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong."

Thanks, JustSayin!! We'd knew you'd recognize 9/11 as a power grab by the Federal Government. Given the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, WW1, WW2, Korea and Viet Nam, there's no way 9/11 qualifies as one of the 10 worst days in America.

Thanks, JustSayin, for recognizing that the TSA is just a large bureaucracy just trying to maintain jobs.

August 27, 2011 9:54 PM



Thank you, "Anonymous," for all the extra attention!

:)

Anonymous said...

Come on! It is not even September yet! Let us discuss change.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong.

No, I'm not wrong. Al-Qaeda may kill some people, but they are not a serious threat to the United States. They aren't going to take over and they won't cause the government to fall.

King George III was a real threat, Adolph Hitler was a real threat, Nikita Khrushchev was a real threat. Al-Qaeda is not.

kellymae81 said...

Such a sad day in American history. So many moving stories. Thanks to all who shared their stories with us! To those who would like to watch a very interesting mini series on the rebuilding of the towers, make sure you watch "The Rising". There are 3 episodes I believe. They come on this Thursday Sept 1st. Cant remember channel or time, but try and find it. Its great! They had 3 episodes this past Thursday. It talks about 9/11/2001, peoples stories, the rebuilding of the new towers and the memorial at ground zero. Really intersting!

Anonymous said...

Thank you TSA, for your constant, dilligent efforts at keeping America in a state of fear, and helping expand the powers of the police state. History will remember you all for your proud work!

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said...
Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong.

No, I'm not wrong. Al-Qaeda may kill some people, but they are not a serious threat to the United States. They aren't going to take over and they won't cause the government to fall.

King George III was a real threat, Adolph Hitler was a real threat, Nikita Khrushchev was a real threat. Al-Qaeda is not.

August 28, 2011 9:40 AM




...you forgot to add that the world isn't round, either.

:)

Anonymous said...

I am reading some of the post by people who say "Al-Qaeda is not a threat" and "TSA is a Bureaucracy ". I am amazed how selfish and self-centered we have become as a Nation. I served with pride in the US Army and I am a Veteran of Iraqi Freedom 03-04 with the 1/150 Ar Bn. I saw firsthand how dangerous these extremist are, and they will stop at nothing to disrupt our lives and kill as many Americans as they can. I for one, thank the Men and Woman of DHS and applaud their efforts. It appears to me the persons who write these horrible things about DHS employees have never had to make a sacrifice for anyone and will never know pain the way those of us who gave our time and those that made the “Ultimate Sacrifice” to protect the American way. So in conclusion, If you are a "desk jockey" with nothing better to do than bash DHS my suggestion is go volunteer at the VA Hospital or find something more meaningful to do with your life.

Anonymous said...

Poor Taste. The TSA should not use a national tragedy to toot their own horn.

Air Ambulance Network said...

TSA Thank you for remembering all who served that day. This was such a horrible tragedy and I can not believe it has really been 10 years since.

FRACUS said...

JustSayin' is standing in line waiting to cash his unemployment check while he tries to decide what lottery ticket to buy withhis MAXIM and pack of Camels.
The uneducated still have a right to express their opinions.
Al-Qaeda is not a threat to this country? Really then how did they blow up the towers? How are these American terrorists being recruited within the US to commit acts of terrorism? Not a threat, then why are so afarid osf mosques being built or people with middle eastern appearences, up in arms over illegal immigration..because you are afraid and that is what Al-Qaeda has done. Not a threat, try reading your mag and swill your suds and leave the intelligent conversation to clear minded people thathave to try and protect those like yourself along withthe rest of us. DOH HOMER

Anonymous said...

If the TSA didn't have the national tragedy to hold over our heads, they wouldn't have much of anything.

Anonymous said...

[[I am amazed how selfish and self-centered we have become as a Nation]]

You must be about 150 years old, then, because the last time we weren't so self-centered that you'd be able to see a difference over time was in the 19th century.

[["Al-Qaeda is not a threat"]]

It's not the threat that the government would like us to think it is. Regardless of what you saw "over there" and regardless of the individual hotheads that Napolitano keeps barking about as the newest grave threat, al Qaida as well as the rest of the paramilitary outfits loosely termed "terrorists" are hardly the scourge of god that our government has claimed them to be. The efforts in response have been thoroughly out of proportion to the danger they present.

I you'd like to claim that the danger they present is >0, I'll agree. If you'd like to claim that the danger they present justifies the unprecedented size, scope, cost and harrassment of individuals undertaken by our government over the last decade, then I won't. And I'll be right and you'll be wrong.

[["TSA is a Bureaucracy "]]

They are. By definition. You DO know what a bureaucracy is, doncha?

[[It appears to me the persons who write these horrible things about DHS employees have never had to make a sacrifice for anyone and will never know pain the way those of us who gave our time and those that made the “Ultimate Sacrifice” to protect the American way.]]

As much as I dislike insulting our soldiers you leave me little choice. Some of us work behind the scenes making sure you have everything you need [you're welcome, by the way], and some of us were, some decades ago, in the position you are in today [you're welcome again], and in any event there is no person or group of people who have cornered the market on making sacrifices of themselves to preserve "the American Way", and so I would thank you to drop the pretentious nonsense that presupposes the government and its officious bureaucrats are above criticism.

They are not; they have, in fact, done much that deserves criticism, and far more than is allowed here.

Our nation has rules, soldier, and among those rules is that Americans are required to be given the dignity of being considered innocent until they are proven guilty. TSA's policies, and DHS in general, requires the exact opposite: we are treated as guilty of terrorist conspiracy until we prove we aren't.

If you believe that TSA and DHS are performing a vital function I'm not going to spend an awful lot of time quibbling about it; the only thing I insist upon is that they follow the rules while doing it. Not THEIR rules. OUR rules. The "We The People" rules.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I am reading some of the post by people who say "Al-Qaeda is not a threat"

No one said that. You are making a straw-man argument. You criticize an extreme point of view that no one actually supports.

What was said is that Al-Qaeda is not the biggest threat the US has ever faced. This is a very different statement.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"If you are a "desk jockey" with nothing better to do than bash DHS my suggestion is go volunteer at the VA Hospital or find something more meaningful to do with your life."

I'm an officer in the Navy and agree with the original thesis that AQ is not the threat that TSA would have you believe it is.

I recommend we stop using our service history as a means to bolster our arguments; you will find people on all sides of this argument, including our governments overdone response to domestic terrorism.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "I am reading some of the post by people who say "Al-Qaeda is not a threat" and "TSA is a Bureaucracy ". I am amazed how selfish and self-centered we have become as a Nation. I served with pride in the US Army and I am a Veteran of Iraqi Freedom 03-04 with the 1/150 Ar Bn. I saw firsthand how dangerous these extremist are, and they will stop at nothing to disrupt our lives and kill as many Americans as they can. I for one, thank the Men and Woman of DHS and applaud their efforts. It appears to me the persons who write these horrible things about DHS employees have never had to make a sacrifice for anyone and will never know pain the way those of us who gave our time and those that made the “Ultimate Sacrifice” to protect the American way. So in conclusion, If you are a "desk jockey" with nothing better to do than bash DHS my suggestion is go volunteer at the VA Hospital or find something more meaningful to do with your life."

As a vet, how do you feel about the country abandoning the freedom at home that you are putting your life on the line abroad to protect?

TSA is a bureaucracy. The agency I work for is a bureaucracy. They have a function, but it doesn't change the fact that they're big, bloated, inefficient, and they waste a lot of money in the wrong areas.

Many of us "complainers" have served or are serving. And many of us serve in silence and provide you the resources and information you guys need so you didn't become a grease spot on the battlefield.

There are many ways to serve. In a uniform is just one of them. I have plenty of meaning in my life - and freedom and what this country stands for mean a lot to me. That's why I'm going to continue speaking out against a threat from within.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." -- Abraham Lincoln

Earl

Sandra said...

"The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on worldwide terrorism deaths. 15 American civilians were killed by terrorists in the whole world last year. 13 were in Afghanistan and 1 each in Iraq and Uganda. Exactly none were in commercial airliners and there were exactly none from any transportation cause in the U.S. Coincidentally, or maybe not, figures were also released for dogbite deaths in the US. There were 34 of those."

http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/retasking-the-tsa.848/#post-7240

Tell me again why we need the TSA.....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "I am reading some of the post by people who say "Al-Qaeda is not a threat" and "TSA is a Bureaucracy ". I am amazed....."

I am a retired Marine of 24 years who has served through our nation's last three wars, and I now work as a law enforcement officer. I find it very disturbing here in the very country that I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving, that when I passed through an airport screening checkpoint lately, the TSA scrutinized my identity and knew who I was, but singled me out for an enhanced search while allowing a college student on a student visa behind me to pass through with ease.

The TSA focuses on finding bad items instead of finding bad people. The same tube of toothpaste an innocent passenger carried on the city tram headed to the airport does not count as a point for score when it gets taken away at the airport's screening checkpoint, and confiscating it because it was actual toothpaste does not translate into preventing a catastrophic air disaster. Thousands of LEGALLY licensed citizens carry personal firearms on metro busses throughout our cities everyday (if you're surprised, it shows you're naive), and not one of them has yet to hijack a bus. This is not to say it's okay to take firearms on a plane because it's not, but to explain that most firearms being found at checkpoints are from good citizens who made a very bad mistake. But the TSA tries to make it look like each firearm they find in an x-ray machine means they just stopped a real terrorist in his tracks. Thousands more law abiding Americans carry pocket knives, pepper spray, nail clippers, etc on those very same busses rails, and taxi cabs, and the TSA has counted each type of those items towards thier 5 million find score against terrorism.

On the other hand, criminals and terrorists in possesion of knives or firearms do pose a real danger, but it takes professionals with lengthy training and naturally good inter-personal skills to single those bad people. The point is the focus should be on the person---not the thing. If I used the bad things (plus threw in other objects like toothpaste, pythons, artfully concealed flashlights, etc) that I find everyday on good citizens as my measuring stick for preventing a crime from happening, I would be an overrated supercop over-justifying the existence of my tax payer paid job. Professional law enforcement officers preserve the rights of citizens while serving and protecting them, and it takes a lot of common sense, good judgement and experience in doing that line of work. TSA does not serve Americans in that same sense, and the mission that they have instilled in the minds of thier TSO employees is a very warped one. The TSA IS a bureacracy.

Anonymous said...

FRACUS said....
Al-Qaeda is not a threat to this country? Really then how did they blow up the towers?

There is a big difference between a threat to a few individuals and a threat to the United States. Any nut with weapon can kill a few people. This is a long way from bringing down the US government and taking over the country.

The Soviet Union was a real threat. When Khrushchev said he would bury us he had a few thousand nuclear weapons to back it up.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
"...you forgot to add that the world isn't round, either."

Hey Blogger Bob - do the moderating rules apply to anti-TSA posts only? The above was the entire comment. No actual content, just a personal attack. The rules should apply the same to everyone.

Jim Huggins said...

JustSayin writes: ...you forgot to add that the world isn't round, either.

Actually, the world isn't round. It's an oblate spheroid. :)

RB said...

FRACUS said...
JustSayin' is standing in line waiting to cash his unemployment check while he tries to decide what lottery ticket to buy withhis MAXIM and pack of Camels.
The uneducated still have a right to express their opinions.
Al-Qaeda is not a threat to this country? Really then how did they blow up the towers? How are these American terrorists being recruited within the US to commit acts of terrorism? Not a threat, then why are so afarid osf mosques being built or people with middle eastern appearences, up in arms over illegal immigration..because you are afraid and that is what Al-Qaeda has done. Not a threat, try reading your mag and swill your suds and leave the intelligent conversation to clear minded people thathave to try and protect those like yourself along withthe rest of us. DOH HOMER

August 29, 2011 11:58 AM

................
Before bashing other peoples intelligence you need to get your facts straight and perhaps review your post for content.

The Twin Towers were not blown up. An airliner was flown into each tower. The ensuing fires along with the damaged caused by the airplanes compromised the structural integrity of the towers resulting in the failure of the structures.

That this event happened is indeed a sad day for America, but what is more sad is the damage Congress has caused to our Constitution and way of life by creating TSA.

Anonymous said...

I am curious as to why my last submission was not posted. Please explain so I can prevent making the same error twice. I hope it is not my use of numbers and math.

In response to JustSayin, and his statement "Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong." that states 9/11 is one of America's 10 darkest days.

He is absolutely correct. The damage done by Al-Qaeda goes far beyond the 3,000 people who died and the damage to the WTC, Pentagon, and innocent passengers.

The camage continues every year with the expense of over $8,000,000,000 on the DHS and TSA. We continue to pay for the attack in the lost productivity of our citizens. By my calculations, the loss of productivity equates to about $20,000,000 every day. My reasoning is below, feel free to question or adjust my assumptions.

TSA stated 2,000,000 pasengers per day.
Assume 30 minute average wait for screening.
2,000,00 at 30 min. results in 1,000,000 man hours.
Assume average pay of air passengers at $20/hour.
$20/hour multiplied by 1,000,000 man hours is $20,000,000 per day.
365 days in a year means $7,300,000,000 in lost productivity every year.

The TSA continues to remove value from our society and economy, yet has refused to provide any information as to how many lives they have saved, how many injuries they have prevented, or what value of tangible assets they have protected.

Not Scared of Terrorist

Screen Cap on Round Two

JustSayin said...

Jim Huggins said...
JustSayin writes: ...you forgot to add that the world isn't round, either.

Actually, the world isn't round. It's an oblate spheroid. :)

August 30, 2011 9:00 AM


That's true......especially considering how bent out of shape you are with the TSA.

:)

Anonymous said...

9/11 was a HORRIBLE day in American history ... not only did we lose thousands of our fellow citizens but we also lost some of our freedoms and liberties when government officials created the TSA.

9/11 ... a TRULY DEVASTATING DAY IN OUR HISTORY!!!

Pesky Monkey said...

If anybody here can show a nexus between a failure of airport security on 9/11 and the creation of the TSA, I will personally pin a medal on their star spangled chest.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
" In response to JustSayin, and his statement "Interesting you don't feel 9/11 qualifies, but you're wrong." that states 9/11 is one of America's 10 darkest days.
He is absolutely correct. The damage done by Al-Qaeda goes far beyond the 3,000 people who died and the damage to the WTC, Pentagon, and innocent passengers.
The camage continues every year with the expense of over $8,000,000,000 on the DHS and TSA. We continue to pay for the attack in the lost productivity of our citizens. By my calculations, the loss of productivity equates to about $20,000,000 every day. My reasoning is below, feel free to question or adjust my assumptions."

I don't question your reasoning about the cost of the pretend security at the airports. However, I would place the blame on the US government, not Al-Qaeda. The entire world saw what happened, but most people reacted in a sane manner. Only our government decided to over-react. Most of our politicians are too afraid to point out that the current policies don't work.

Anonymous said...

"I don't question your reasoning about the cost of the pretend security at the airports. However, I would place the blame on the US government, not Al-Qaeda. The entire world saw what happened, but most people reacted in a sane manner. Only our government decided to over-react. Most of our politicians are too afraid to point out that the current policies don't work."

I agree that the formation of the TSA and DHS is not the sole responsibility of Al-Qaeda. In fact, I believe Al-Qaeda is simply the scapegote for the current abuses thrust upon us. I place more blame on the US population that I am a member of. A government can not take away rights without the consent of the governed. After all, we do outnumber them.

Am I sad that 3,000 people died on 9/11/2001, you bet. Am I also sad that over 200,000 people died as a result of a Tsunami in 2004, yes, but I do not see us spending $8,000,000,000 a year to prevent this disaster from occuring again. Although if we based spending on the number of deaths, we should be spending $533,000,000,000 each year to prevent death by Tsunami.

Not Scared of Terrorists

Anonymous said...

[[Actually, the world isn't round. It's an oblate spheroid.]]

Two thumbs up, Jim. If I was an ape like 'Just' and had opposable big toes, there'd be four thumbs up.


[[The TSA continues to remove value from our society and economy, yet has refused to provide any information as to how many lives they have saved, how many injuries they have prevented, or what value of tangible assets they have protected.]]

And your math is good, ... as far as it goes. But let's not forget the rest.

There is also the cost of the personal property confiscated from passengers without demonstrating, even superficially, that the item[s] defined as contraband specifically constituted a real and legitimate threat before they were pitched.

There is the time and expense for displaying items of possible contraband in such a way as to retain the items - plastic bags are not free, nor are the special bottles that many people repackage their goo into.

There is the time and expense of preparing oneself for easier transit through "security" - going to the doctor for a prescription for Xanax or Zoloft isn't free [despite the promises of Obamacare], and the prescription itself isn't free. Nor are the other mellowing agents and compounds used to help some of us resist the urge to give the officious nitwits a piece of 1stAM mind that they so richly deserve as they defile our 4thAM person, papers and effects.

There is also the time and expense incurred by those who do not take the time and expense beforehand to prepare themselves, as they need to deal with the emotional traumas inflicted by the impersonal and gratuitous impositions of "security". Whether professional counselling in a clinical setting, or amateur counselling in a saloon, being forcibly molested by our own government in the name of freedom affects us all in different ways and to differing effect.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"That's true......especially considering how bent out of shape you are with the TSA."

Then you admit you were wrong in your original post, JustSayin?

I wonder if you realize that you're appalling penchant for mockery has prompted many of us to contact our Representatives and Senators to act on our behalf? Something about biting the hand that feeds you...

Ayn R. Key said...

As great as the stories of 9/11 are, the best is the story of 9/12. The story is that life goes on.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I saw firsthand how dangerous these extremist are, and they will stop at nothing to disrupt our lives and kill as many Americans as they can.

... and that's why the last ten years have been filled with terrorist attacks. Weekly, almost daily, another plane is crashed, another building is blown up, another crowded street sprayed with bulle... what? None of that has happened?!?!

Wow, for a group that will "stop at nothing", they haven't done much, have they?

IraqVet said...

Clearly, Blogger Bob and his girls at TSSA take issue with my comments.

Hugs

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"... and that's why the last ten years have been filled with terrorist attacks. Weekly, almost daily, another plane is crashed, another building is blown up, another crowded street sprayed with bulle... what? None of that has happened?!?!

Wow, for a group that will "stop at nothing", they haven't done much, have they?"

are you talking about in America only? these incidents that you speak of happen everyday in many places all over the world. Americans are involved in them aka soliders in the middle east. are you only worried about you and your family? well unfortunately the govt has to worry about ALL Americans here and abroad, so it comes up with general policies to inact for a broad range of situations. i wish they could be as close minded and selfish as most Americans but the govt has a huge responsibilty for all.

abcde said...

As great as the stories of 9/11 are, the best is the story of 9/12. The story is that life goes on.
Swetha Jain