KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To this day, airport security is one of the most recognizable, direct changes made in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The federal government established the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, which is now responsible for keeping airports safe.
No one understands the changes made better than Joe McBride, who was the senior manager of marketing and communications for the Kansas City Aviation Department when 9/11 happened.
“9/11 happened in New York and Pennsylvania. But it still had an impact that was major here in Kansas City and airports across the country,” McBride said.
He said the Kansas City International Airport played an important role back then by serving as a place for aircrafts to land. All aircrafts were ordered to ground by the federal government after the hijackings.
“You'd look up in the sky, and you'd see the normal contrails — condensation trails — that were that jet across the stretch of the sky in a straight line, were half circles,” McBride said. “That was because those aircraft were landing at the closest airport that could take them, you know, based on where the FAA was sending them. So it was just very surreal.”
To memorialize 9/11, the TSA typically does a moment of silence at the time of the attacks, according to McBride. It’s a moment that still affects him.
“I think about it. I pray but I also can't watch the video and you know there's movies on it and I know I just don't want to see it again, go through it,” McBride said.
That’s not the only way 9/11 is memorialized across the Kansas City area. One memorial to the firefighters who lost their lives in Overland Park features steel from the World Trade Center.
Trevor Miller, a firefighter who was fundamental in bringing the memorial to the area, said it’s important to have such monuments as more time passes between the event and younger generations.
“That's what's really surprising, is how fast 20 years went. So another 20 years is going to go by fast. And that's why it's important to have this memorial, because I'm not going to be here that much longer as a professional firefighter,” Miller said. “There's a group of firefighters right now, there's 20 of them in a classroom that are going through officer development class — they were rookies, it felt like yesterday. These are the folks that are going to be running this fire department here in a couple years, and I need them to continue telling this story.”
In the fourth episode of KSHB 41 News’ five-part podcast mini-series about the 20th anniversary of 9/11, digital producers Casey Murray and Katharine Finnerty will explore how KCI was impacted by 9/11, and why people in the metro continue to keep the memory of the attacks alive.
EPISODE 1: Remembering 9/11 on its 20th anniversary
EPISODE 2: Sept. 11, the war and its impact on service members
EPISODE 3: The impact of 9/11 on the Islamic community, educators
EPISODE 5: Reporting on traumatic events like 9/11