It didn’t occur to me until I got to the airport what day it was.
The home airport I fly out of most often is small. We only have two gates.
Most of the men and women working security have been there long enough that I recognize them. And when I go through, a couple of them act like they remember me, too.
I’ve been a first class jerk going through security, embarrassing friends on vacation and students traveling with me on debate trips. Sometimes it was simply because I felt put out by having to take off my shoes, take off my belt.
Empty my pockets.
Unpack my laptop.
Take off my jacket.
You know, ridiculously inconvenient extra work for me, the weary traveler.
Other times it seemed that security personnel took a little too much pleasure in gutting my carry-on, took a little longer than necessary on the pat-down.
I probably wouldn’t have fared too well under the Nazi regime.
But today was different.
Partly because I’m different. Hopefully better. A little more patient. Less defensive and afraid than I used to be.
Today was different because I remembered why we had to make those changes in the first place. And as I sat on the plane I imagined just how horrific it must have been in those last moments. What those last desperate conversations on cell phones must have been like for helpless loved ones on the ground.
Who still feel that loss today.
So today I walked through security without one huff. Without one complaint. With a smile for the guy who took my ID and boarding pass.
And when I thanked them and asked if I could take their picture, they smiled back.
Well, some of them did.