No evidence has ever emerged that the failures of airport officials contributed to the attacks: at the time, cutters, the weapons used by terrorists, were legal to carry on planes, and airlines, and not airports, operated security checkpoints. But in the intensity of this moment, it didn’t matter. Joseph Lawless, the airport security manager, who previously worked as a driver for a Massachusetts governor, was transferred two and a half weeks after the attacks. A month later, Ms Buckingham resigned under pressure.
Finally, the journalists moved on. But Mrs. Buckingham couldn’t. Twenty years later, she remains saddened by her treatment during those six weeks, which she described in a new memoir, “On My Watch”. At 36, his political career came to an end. Although she lost her job, her role as head of the agency dragged her into wrongful death lawsuits that continued for a decade. She sought treatment for depression and PTSD.
And for years, she’s heard from strangers who blamed her for the attacks. “So when are you going to apologize for 9/11?” Asked a man who called his office years later. “When are you going to apologize so this town can move on?” Her thoughts became so tangled that she began to wonder if it really was. was his fault.
Mr Lawless said he would not comment on this article, out of respect for the victims.
“It’s not a bean bag”
It is impossible to understand this story outside of the context of Massachusetts politics, which is notoriously turbulent.
On the morning two planes from Boston destroyed the World Trade Center, the acting governor of Massachusetts was Jane Swift, 36, who had been elevated to the post when Paul Cellucci was appointed ambassador to Canada. When asked to think back to that time, Ms Swift recalled an old aphorism about politics: “It’s not a beanbag,” a standard response to those hurt by a negative campaign. It basically means “stop complaining”.
Ms Swift, a Republican, was a punching bag for the media, among other reasons to ask assistants to babysit and use a state helicopter to return to her home in western Massachusetts. She was always vigilant as to the origin of the next roundhouse. It was a “dirty little secret,” for example, that the fastest overland route to Boston required a brief detour through New York roads.
“I used to say to my state soldiers, ‘If you crash and I die, you drag my dead carcass over the line, because we all have so many problems,” a- she declared.