HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There are a few places where you feel the gravity of 9/11. One of those places is an airport. Harrisburg International Airport was one of the first in America to reflect the lessons of that day.
9/11 was a day when some people closest to it all, had the least idea of what was going on.
Scott Miller is now an airport leader and its spokesperson. But back then it was his second day at work at Harrisburg International Airport. Miller started on 9/10.
He didn’t have all the real-time communication we have now, because it did not exist.
“The day is a blur to me,” Miller said. “I didn’t see the towers fall. I didn’t see the Pentagon or Shanksville live, because we were here (at the airport).”
Miller was in the old terminal, but 22 years later?
“It’s a different day for me here to walk around the building in the sense that I’m grateful every day for people coming and going, but today’s just a little different,” Miller said,
One way to think about how much things have changed was the introduction of a modern-day TSA Checkpoint. There was no such thing as a TSA Checkpoint as it exists today.
Travelers were always screened, but back then you did not need to be booked on a flight to wander the terminal.
“If my wife’s flying, I could go through the gate, say goodbye, and off she goes,” Miller said. “Many people don’t realize that”
That is because many people who are now grown-up business travelers wouldn’t remember.
“I was only one at the time, so I was a baby,” traveler Emily McLeod said. “Airports, basically how I heard, they were back then are a lot different than how they are now,” she added.
“The bags that went under the plane were very rarely screened, if ever,” Miller said.
The airport’s in-line bag screening system was the first in America when it went online at the then-new terminal in 2004.
“It really was a great decision that we did back in those days that would not have happened had not been for 9/11,” Miller said
There really is no way to fly on 9/11 without realizing what day it was.
“Looking back on it, you miss the innocence of the pre-9/11 days. But yet we’re used to this process now, and it works very well,” Miller said.