At 8:46 a.m. on September 11 Logan Airport stood silent to mark the moment a year ago when our world was changed forever. We remember the victims of that horrible day, grieve with the families, and honor the heroes whose courage and self-sacrifice still astound and inspire us.
The stillness on Logan's airfield recalled that painful silence last September when, for the first time in our nations history, America's skies were closed. In a quiet moment of reflection we paid our respects. But our lasting tribute to those who died on September 11 will not be complete until this airport, which chance has forever linked with a day of unthinkable human loss, can be remembered instead for the success we have achieved in moving this country forward.
That effort began a year ago. The silence in the skies on September 11 contrasted sharply with the din of activity on the ground as all public agencies worked determinedly to protect its passengers once it was understood America was under attack.
Thousands who still remained in Logan's terminals were evacuated quickly and safely. Steps were undertaken to keep others away.
Stranded travelers from around the world were housed and fed, or matched with generous people throughout Massachusetts who called us to volunteer their homes.
Cruise passengers whose ships were diverted to Boston from other ports were brought on shore and accommodated.
But most of all, the families of those who died on board the two flights that left this airport were cared for and consoled.
In this moment of intense pain and sorrow there was a measure of normalcy in work. As one member of Massport's CARE team put it, looking back to the experience of the volunteers in Logan's Family Assistance Center: "Mending life's shattered pieces at our own Ground Zero helped all of us cope with the enormity of the event."
In the end, the best way for Massport to remember the enormity of the events of September 11 is to never forget that our first responsibility is to you, our fellow citizens, and to your safety and security, and to those who you love.
That commitment will be evident in everything that we do. That is our pledge to you.
Even before I arrived last April, Logan was already among the first airports in the country to push Congress for revolutionary changes in transportation security.
Logan had also been singled out by the federal government to help develop security measures for the rest of the nation. It had opened its terminals as a test site for the latest in security technology, and was retraining staff in counter-terrorism strategies.
Adversity can produce significant accomplishments if an organization has the courage, the commitment and strength of character to seize the opportunity. From everything I have seen of the men and women of Massport, I am confident that this organization does.
One of the first things we did when I came to Massport was complete our comprehensive plan for rebuilding our airport to screen all checked baggage. Then, while others were working hard to postpone the deadline for mandatory baggage screening, we worked even harder to be the first airport in the country to get federal endorsement for our screening plan.
And today, Massport is working closely with the new federal Transportation Security Administration, and with the full support of this state's political leadership, to make Logan Airport a national model for airport security.
We have committed up to $146 million to rebuild our terminals and our baggage facilities for screening all checked baggage. Our contractors and staff are working around the clock to complete the project by the Congressional deadline at the end of this year.
Much has been done, but it is only the beginning. This determination by all of us at Massport to be a national leader for transportation security was forged the moment a group of evil men stole two airplanes from this airport and used them to kill thousands of innocent people.
When you are touched by history you wear its scars. We were changed by September 11. We take it personally. We respect its lessons. And we make this pledge to you, that we will devote all our vigilance, all our commitment, all the resources and talent at our disposal to make Logan Airport a world-class facility in every respect.