Trip shows how things change

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Ahhh … back at home.

I traveled to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan recently.

I managed to ride on an airplane, rent a car, travel from Chicago to Niles, Mich., and back without a scrape.

Miracles do occur.

The amazing part was that the whole trip was pretty much without incident.

That’s the biggest miracle of them all.

Very little happens in my life without incident.

I have become used to this, though those around me often struggle with this basic truth.

Even though I went through long lines of security at every airport, I was a little nervous when I boarded the plane to Chicago.

One can’t be too careful nowadays, and I noticed several passengers studying their fellow planemates.

You couldn’t help to look around and wonder: &uot;Are these people what they seem? Am I safe?&uot;

It was an eerie feeling &045;especially in light of the anniversary of Sept. 11.

I sat down next to a nice disc jockey who worked at a Christian radio station in Chicago.

&uot;Going home?&uot; he asked.

&uot;Nope,&uot; I replied. &uot;Going to work.&uot;

We proceeded to talk the entire trip, with me explaining that short bouts of staring at my feet weren’t rudeness but rather an aversion to flying.

&uot;I understand,&uot; he said. &uot;It is a bit weird flying now isn’t it?&uot;

It was.

I couldn’t help but wonder what the people on those planes on Sept. 11 were thinking and feeling as they realized their planes were being hijacked.

For the first two planes, the shock must have been incredible and the uncertainty almost unbearable.

For the third plane, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania, the horrible realization of what lay ahead was obvious and omnipresent.

These were a group of people headed out to start their day.

They were going to work, going home, going on vacation.

Suddenly, their lives &045; and the lives of their loved ones &045; changed.

They were just normal people who ended up doing amazing things.

We will never know what all went on during that fateful flight.

We will never know exactly where that plane was headed or how many lives were saved because of the passengers’ sacrifices.

What I do know is they were on my mind as I boarded that airplane.

And as we have just experienced the anniversary of Sept. 11, I imagine they, and all the other victims and heroes of Sept. 11, will remain on everyone else’s mind for some time as well