First Lady Jill Biden spoke today of her sister being a United Airlines flight attendant on 9/11 and the panic of not knowing where she was that day. BOH editor Rob also worked for United Airlines and flew globally because of that job. And BOH editor Jeff was flying around the world and just missed traveling on that fateful day. He was on the way home to Hawaii. We all have stories to tell of where we were that day, but nothing compares to the families who lost loved ones, both here in Hawaii, and around the world.
It was emotional preparing for this, and we hope you will find it meaningful too. First, we were reminded of just how young most of the people who died were, and how full of life. And in a totally different vein, how much the world changed forever that one day we’ll never forget, including Hawaii travel.
How 9/11 changed travel forever to Hawaii and elsewhere.
If you live in Hawaii, air travel is just part of normal life. There’s no way to avoid it. It’s hard to even remember what it was like to travel to and within Hawaii before 9/11, but let’s just say it was hugely different. While we had already entered the world of travel security, we didn’t have TSA, the long unending lines, and the many rules. Here in Hawaii, we would often get to the airport 15 minutes before a flight and just walk on. Wow, we’d forgotten just how that tragedy changed travel here and everywhere.
TSA was created two months after 9/11, and with that came screening of passengers, checked and carry-on bags, and reinforced cockpits, among other things. Then came shoe removal and many other rules.
Each measure to make us safer also made us more miserable.
There were new rules on carrying liquids too. With each new layer, travel slowed down and it was made more challenging. Don’t forget to remove your belt and your jacket too. And of course your electronics, and your food. Then there were pat downs, air marshalls, and flight attendants protecting planes as a new primary job function.
Following were long lines that have only worsened, even though TSA developed the PreCheck and other programs to help shorten the lines for some who are willing to pay extra. We remember not long ago when PreCheck was free.
And this all continues to evolve with the use of more advanced screening technology, facial recognition, and databases that store information about us and our travels.
And all this before Covid struck and once again upended travel.
There’s no doubt about it. The 9/11 tragedy changed travel for the worse, and it continues to be more and more challenging.
Remembering the men and women of Hawaii whose lives were lost on 9/11.
Hawaii Governor Ige said, “WHEREAS, each year on 9/11, we respectfully honor the sacrifice of the many first responders and the memory of the men, women, and children whose lives were lost in the attacks, including those whose hearts and memories are with families in Hawai’i—Michael Collins, 38; Patricia Colodner, 39; Georgine Corrigan, 56; Maile Hale, 26; Heather Ho, 32; Richard Keane, 54; David Laychak, 40; Richard Y.C. Lee, 34; and Christine Snyder, 32.”
Michael Collins, 38, graduated from Leilehua High School and died at the WTC. He was survived by his wife.
Patricia Colodner, 39, was Hawaii-born and moved to NYC. She died in the WTC and was survived by her husband and two children.
Georgine Corrigan, from Honolulu, age 56, of Honolulu. She died on UAL 93 that day while returning home to Hawaii from a business trip. She was survived by her daughter.
Maile Hale, age 26, was born and raised in Honolulu. She died at WTC while attending a work conference.
Heather Malia Ho, age 32, a famed pastry chef who graduated from Punahou, then worked in San Francisco before moving to NYC to become pastry chef at Windows on the World; the renowned WTC restaurant on the 106 and 107 floors of the North Tower.
Richard Keane, age 54, was at work for his job at WTC when he died. He was survived by his wife, five children, and two grandchildren.
David Laychak, age 40, of Honolulu, died while working at the Pentagon. He was survived by his wife and two children.
Richard Y.C. Lee. age 34, was also at work at the WTC when he died. He was survived by his wife and one child.
Christine Snyder, age 32, of Kailua, died on flight UAL 93 while returning home. She was survived by her husband.
May their memories be a blessing as we reflect on 9/11.