Author: Dick Jordan

9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 4)

9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 4)

“9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously” (Part 4)

(The third installment of Dick Jordan’s recollections of the events of September 11, 2001 appeared yesterday. The story concludes today.)

 Unhappy Travels

A month after returning from Europe we were in the air again, this time flying from San Francisco to Newark where we picked up a rental car and drove northwestward into Pennsylvania. In mid-summer my wife had gone back to upstate New York to help her 94 year old ailing aunt move into an assisted living facility located across the Delaware River just a few miles south of her home. Now we were coming to help her celebrate her 95th birthday.

(Wikipedia Commons Photo)

The health of my wife’s aunt had declined since August. She was hospitalized when we arrived, then moved to a nursing home. We bought a cake and some gifts and held a bed-side birthday party for her.

We stopped at the nursing home the following morning to pay her one last visit before driving on to the Newark airport for the trip home. But she had died sometime during the night, so we rescheduled our flight to later in the week in order to attend the funeral.

As it turned out, we might not have made it home that day, anyway. Earlier in the morning American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens shortly after takeoff from JFK. Flight operations at Newark were temporarily suspended due to concerns that the plane might have been brought down by a terrorist attack.

(NOAA Photo)

Less than a month later I received a phone call from my stepfather’s brother. My stepfather had suffered a severe stroke. I flew to Seattle the following day, stayed with him until he passed away at the end of the week, and set about making the funeral arrangements. My wife arrived from California, we buried my stepfather, then flew home just before Christmas.

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9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 3)

9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 3)

“9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously” (Part 3)

(The second installment of Dick Jordan’s recollections of the events of September 11, 2001 appeared yesterday. The story continues today).

Arrival in Italy, At Last!

The weather had been good for flying and only a few puffy clouds floated in the skies ahead of us. We crossed the still snow-clad upper reaches of the Alps, then began our descent towards Milan.

(Wikipedia Commons Photo)

I could see rectangular patches of farmland below us.

Somewhere to the south the Po River must have been coursing its way toward the Adriatic.

The pilot banked the plane as we turned onto the final approach. Flaps were extended. Wheels were deployed.

(Wikipedia Commons Photo)

The noise of air passing by the fuselage increased.

Touchdown!

The passengers broke out into spontaneous applause; Italians glad to be home, foreign tourists cheering the real beginning of their vacation trip. I was about 2:30 pm, Milan time.

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9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 2)

9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously (Part 2)

“9/11 Remembered: The Year of Flying Dangerously” (Part 2)

(The first installment  of Dick Jordan’s recollections of the events of September 11, 2001 appeared yesterday. The story continues today).

Departure Day

I turned on my computer before breakfast on Saturday and went to the Alitalia Website.

Departures to the U.S. had resumed.

A plane from Milan to San Francisco was in the air, although it was three hours behind schedule.

(M McBey Photo)

I called Alitalia’s reservation number and someone answered the phone.

Yes, the return flight from SFO to Milan would depart later that day.

No, we cannot tell you whether you will be on it; passengers whose flights were cancelled earlier in the week will be given preference in boarding.

I was told that we must go to the airport to find out if we will be on the passenger manifest for the flight.

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