Four tolls of the bell for the four flights that crashed on 9-11 rang out Sunday morning in Grapevine at the 9/11 Flight Crew Memorial as pilots and flight attendants remembered their fallen colleagues.
And a few miles away at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, it was business as usual with passengers coming and going at the third-largest airport in the country.
“It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 10 years ago that we lost our friends on American Airlines Flight 11, 77 and United 175 and 93,” Julie Frederick of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said at the service. “I think of them every time, just as you do, when I get up and put on the uniform and walk down the jet bridge.”
Most passengers said they were not nervous about flying on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, although they expected to see increased screening at airport checkpoints. There were slightly longer lines at DFW’s Terminal C, but it was not apparent whether the security screeners were performing extra checks of passengers.
A suspicious truck that was parked at the curb of Terminal B around 2 p.m. was investigated by airport security and FBI officials.
FBI official Kevin Gentry said the truck was driven by a crew member of the Discovery Channel show Sons of Guns. Investigators became suspicious when the driver said, “I got a couple of guns,” but Gentry said he was just waiting for a co-worker. The two will film in El Paso and Albuquerque, N.M.
Airport spokesman David Magaña said a bomb squad and canine units were deployed when an automatic weapon was found in the truck, parked in an area where troops returning from the Middle East are greeted. A Discovery Channel spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Magaña said flight operations and the secure passenger areas of the five terminals were not affected.
Lisa Ferro of McKinney chose to fly to San Francisco on Sept. 11, thinking she might get a cheaper airfare since no one would want to fly then.
“I have a lot of faith and whatever happens, happens,” Ferro said. “I figured [the terrorists] won’t do anything today because there will be extra security.”
Sgt. Gary Lindsay, 31, was flying back to Afghanistan after a two-week break in Oklahoma. For Lindsay, Sept. 11 is a bittersweet day. It’s his birthday.
“It’s a celebration of my life, but you look at how many people lost their lives on this day,” Lindsay said.
American Airlines pilot Lawrence Rosselot flew to Atlanta and back Sunday morning and said the flights were uneventful, just the way he likes it.
“It was just a normal day for the passengers and it’s a normal day in the cockpit,” said Rosselot, a 20-year veteran at American who was not flying on 9-11, 10 years ago. “I was proud to fly today.”
At the Grapevine service, taps was played by retired American Airlines pilot Doug Ebersole and Bugles Across America member Larry Crossman. The American flag in front of the memorial statue was lowered to half-staff.
Marty Fangman, whose brother, Robert, was a flight attendant on United Flight 175, read the names of the pilots and flight attendants who died on 9-11.
“He had spent the previous weekend here in Texas visiting with my family, with his niece, and we said goodbye to him on Monday when he went to DFW to fly out to do his job on Tuesday, 9-11, and that was the last I saw him,” Fangman said of his brother.
Southwest pilot Eric Hedenberg brought his 7-year-old son, Samuel, to the memorial ceremony, as did United pilot Charlie Lindberg, who had his 9-year-old son, Nate, attend. Both Keller fathers said they wanted their sons to understand what happened and how it affects their lives as pilots.
Hedenberg said he and his son were looking at a book about 9-11, talking about why Sunday was significant.
“I’m a [federal flight deck officer], which allows me to carry a gun on the plane, and [Samuel] has asked before if those guys in those airplanes were on my plane, would it happen to you,” Hedenberg said. “It’s important he understands.”
This report includes material from The Associated Press.
Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7613