The few who fly cite necessity and defiance

On the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, The Florida Times-Union is republishing this article originally published on Sept. 12, 2002.

It is the day airline pilot Capt. Monty Stewart knew would come but never really prepared himself for.

It’s been one year since his AirTran Airways flight was grounded in Atlanta’s Hartsfield International. It’s been one year since he stepped off his plane only to be greeted by horror-struck faces glued to terminal televisions. And it’s been one long year since grumblings of airline security and fear of flying began to send passengers scurrying from airports.

It was supposed to be just another workday with the same security haggles, strict navigational guidelines and shoddy attitudes from passengers complaining of one inconvenience or another. It was supposed to be the routine flight to Washington’s Dulles International that Stewart had grown accustomed to over the year.