9/11 -- St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Sunday, Sept. 1
  • Florida: Terror's launching pad
  • The 19 plotters and their day of terror
  • Remembering

    Monday, Sept. 2
  • When tragedy meets capitalism
  • '9/11 fatigue' is natural, mental health experts say

    Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • Coping as a kid
  • Eric Deggans: 9/11 documentary asks troubling questions about religion
  • Sept. 11 photograph exhibit opens

    Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Millions in new funding don't guarantee security
  • Donations to local charities slow in months after attacks
  • Sept. 11 donations swamp charities
  • Bush to visit three attack sites on 9/11

    Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Attack anniversary is living history lesson
  • Trading fallback system improved
  • Future of site still beset by debate

    Friday, Sept. 6
  • Senate approves plan to allow armed pilots
  • Dream job becoming demoralizing
  • New plane doors would withstand gunfire
  • What ever happened to ... Those patriotic paint jobs?
  • The other 911
  • Consolidated for the cause

    Saturday, Sept. 7
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • A year later, it's the home fires that burn brightly
  • Flying the flag

    Sunday, Sept. 8
  • 125 Cedar Street
  • The drama in Sarasota
  • Cautious, yes, but still traveling
  • As security increases, fervor fades
  • Rising risks
  • Finding lessons in rubble of tragedy
  • Public loss, private grief
  • Duty calls; he goes; they wait
  • Riled residents show true colors
  • Keeping her distance
  • Which way leads up?
  • For the record
  • 45 Questions
  • A lexicon of terror, post-9/11
  • Before attacks, this was the news
  • Other events on Sept. 11
  • Voice mail delivers, retains final words
  • Keeping us rolling
  • 9.11
  • How we'll view it

    Monday, Sept. 9
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines

    Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Multitude to gather to wave U.S. flags
  • Pictures evoke profound feelings
  • Attacks haven't boosted sales of cell phones
  • Schools discover ways to reflect on attacks
  • Flags still wave, but sales fall from peak
  • Three fathers lost
  • Telemarketers easing up on 9/11
  • Nuclear plant adds security layers to prevent terrorism
  • Cough, stress hinder emergency workers
  • Families of missing sit in limbo
  • Places of importance after the attacks

    Wednesday, Sept. 11
  • Remembrance and renewal
  • Flags Along the Bayshore: Tampa Remembers 9/11
  • Ways of remembering
  • A piece of paper . a blue and white truck
  • Is America ready for another attack?
  • Nation to honor victims in silence
  • Poll: Compassion remains
  • The war so far
  • Terror update
  • Attack on Iraq would test headquarters at MacDill
  • 09-11-01 Perspectives
  • Those who died in the attacks
  • Myriad rescue agencies trust their link won't fail
  • Photo gallery
  • (This Flash gallery requires the free Flash Player 5+.)

    Thursday, Sept. 12
  • Emotional service honors those who died selflessly
  • Elements of pride
  • Echo of 9/11 empties airport
  • A day full of tributes, flags and questions
  • Prayer, fellowship pull many through agonizing anniversary
  • Tributes great and small
  • Children in a changed world pause to reflect
  • Citrus recalls 9/11 with its heart
  • Marking the imponderable
  • Ministers assure that God was there that sorrowful day
  • Chime recalls a nation's losses
  • For law officers, day passes quietly
  • Residents gather to heal, remember
  • In big and small ways, our community pays tribute
  • Cities somberly mark Sept. 11
  • Patriotic display greets drivers
  • Day of grief, resolve
  • At county schools, remembrance resounds
  • Travel lags on attacks' anniversary
  • They were us
  • Americans worldwide cautious on anniversary
  • Radical Muslims discuss 'positive outcomes' of Sept. 11
  • Amid grief, Bush gives warning

  • printer version

    For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be

    By JEAN HELLER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 7, 2002

    Louis Miller was in Montreal with 2,000 other airport executives Sept. 11 when word came that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

    "They switched all the video monitors to a network feed, and we saw the second plane hit," said Miller, executive director of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

    He was standing with Bill Dakota, aviation director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the World Trade Center site.

    "Bill was devastated," Miller recalled. "All I remember him saying was, 'My God, those are my offices.' Then he fled."

    At 9:45 a.m, after a third plane hit the Pentagon, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered the first unplanned closure of U.S. airspace in history.

    Tampa International Airport came to a standstill.

    Although a few planes began flying the next day, a year has passed and TIA is still not back to where it was on Sept. 10, 2001. For Miller and dozens of others who work for the airport, missions have changed irrevocably. These are a few of their stories.

    * * *

    Louis Miller

    For years, aviation had been a growth industry.

    "One of the topics we were in Montreal to discuss," Miller said, "was the need to increase airport capacity with new runways, new terminals, new gates, all because of passenger growth. In a matter of seconds, all that's gone and the focus has switched to airport survival."

    Miller returned to an eerily quiet TIA after a three-day drive from Montreal in a van with two of his board members. Airport shops remained closed. Most passengers in the main terminal were people who had been stranded in Tampa.

    "As CEO of a major public facility, I had to start thinking about how we were going to survive," Miller said. "When I sat down and looked at the numbers, frankly, I anticipated a revenue loss of $30-million."

    That would have been a drop of nearly 25 percent of the total aviation authority budget.

    The losses turned out to be $15-million, and airline service to Tampa, month after month, has fared better than the national average. Passenger counts at TIA were down only 7.4 percent in July 2002 from July 2001, compared to the national dip of 10.3 percent. The airport has even fared well enough financially to restore some budget cuts.

    Still, it hasn't been all good news. Midway Airlines is gone. US Airways has cut service dramatically and declared bankruptcy. United Airlines is talking about bankruptcy. American and Northwest airlines are talking about service cuts.

    "Very little is the way it was," Miller said.

    * * *

    Ed Cooley

    Ed Cooley, senior director of operations at TIA, is a pilot. His first response to the television view of a gaping hole in the side of the north tower of the World Trade Center was a pilot's response.

    "I couldn't imagine that someone could inadvertently fly into a building in that area," Cooley said. "No one would normally be at that altitude in that area. We were watching in disbelief when the second plane hit. Then we knew. It wasn't inadvertent at all."

    With Miller and his deputy out of town, responsibility for TIA fell to Cooley, whose first order was to activate the airport's emergency plan. By Friday, as the airport was beginning the recovery process, Tropical Storm Gabrielle hit.

    "A perfect end to the week," he said.

    Gradually, operations have regained some normalcy, though with an overriding emphasis on security. As of Oct. 1, two shuttles again will run between the landside terminal and airsides. And air conditioning, cut back through the summer to save money, will return to normal.

    "It's going to feel normal, but it's not," Cooley said. "Normal isn't what it used to be."

    * * *

    Richard Osborn

    The morning of Sept. 11 started as most work mornings did for Cpl. Richard Osborn, one of three bomb-dog handlers on the TIA police force. He and Detective Jack Lively had just started their morning training routine with their dogs when their colleague, Detective Frank Major, called to say they should turn on the TV.

    "As soon as I saw what was going on," Osborn said, "I told Major to come in so we would have three dog teams visible at the airport as a way of easing people's minds."

    There was more work than even three teams could handle. Every inch of the airport had to be searched, including all aircraft parked at ramps, four airsides, the garages and the grounds. More units were brought in from Tampa and Pinellas County.

    The attacks prompted the retirement of Osborn's Belgian Malinois, Keno, and Lively's Labrador-greyhound, Kramer. Although both were fully qualified bomb dogs, the airport elected to go with new ones, trained and paid for by the Transportation Security Administration. Keno and Kramer are doing well as pets in their handlers' homes.

    "We do a lot of training (with the new dogs) in ticket lines and at the gates because we want the dogs used to working when there's a lot going on around them," Osborn said. "We get people who just follow us around watching the dogs. When they get something right, people start applauding."

    * * *

    Lou Counsel

    For Lou Counsel, the shoeshine specialist in the barber shop on the blue side of the Landside terminal, business was good on the morning of Sept. 11.

    "Usually September is pretty busy for us, and that was a pretty busy morning," Counsel said. "Then, of course, after the attacks started to unfold, it went dead, and eventually they told us to go home.

    "We came back in on Wednesday, but there was no business then, either, because the airport was closed, so they sent us home again. Then the storm hit, and they told us to stay at home. It was the beginning of a bad year.

    The attacks continue to have an impact even now, and Counsel has lost old lunchtime customers who used to drive into the airport's short-term parking and duck in for a shine.

    "I'm entertaining thoughts of looking for another job," he said. "But the thing about shoeshining is that this is the best place to be. It used to be bus and train stations. But not any more. Now it's airports.

    "Until the last year."


    Back to main page
    Related coverage
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be