How I Ended Up With a Plane Ticket on September 11th

This September 11th, I am going to be doing something huge, something I’m still trying to wrap my head around; I’m going to be flying from Tel Aviv to London! No, this isn’t so exciting because it’ll be my first time in the UK, and it’s not because the collapsing value of the pound post Brexit will make this trip a bargain. This is so monumental because I’ll be boarding a plane on September 11th, the heinous date terminally associated with the image of planes plunging into buildings.

While I’m sure there are those who pay no mind to this particular date when perusing through flights on Kayak, I think even the average person may be a little more cautious to fly on this date. Therefore, you could only imagine how I, a non-average, hysterically terrified of all things aviation-person, would feel about flying on the anniversary of the day thousands of people lost their lives on a plane related terror attack. I’d get nervous flying on February 3rd or July 27th, or any other day in the year, so for me flying on September 11th (the day that literally has a security tax named after it!) is going to be one of the scarier things I do.

So why? If I were so scared, why would I do this to myself? Why wouldn’t I just fly on September 10th or 12th?

Well I tried that, believe me, initially I tried to do everything to make that happen, but it didn’t work. I’m traveling with my mom and my two kibbutznik grandparents (another reason this trip will be a doozy) and anyone that has ever tried to coordinate a trip with multiple people knows it can be more challenging than solving a rubik’s cube-this was the only date that worked for all sides. It was either booking a September 11th flight, or making everyone’s lives, including my own, much more difficult. I was very close to going with the “make everyone’s life much more difficult” option, but then I really thought about it. I realized that if I book a flight a day earlier or later because I was scared, not only will I be inconveniencing my family but I will also be letting “them” win; I’d be letting the terrorists who hijacked these planes hijack an entire day of the year! I understood that if I let my fear dictate my plans, then I’d be fulfilling one of the long term goals the terrorists set out for themselves when they committed this terrible attack almost 15 years ago.

Besides the loss of life, wreckage of families and property damage that terror attacks cause, one of their most powerful and dismaying effects is the trauma they create. It’s unfortunate yet understandable that we may not want to go visit the nightclub we just saw on CNN. With terror attacks becoming a much more common global phenomena, it’s hard not to let our fear of them play some kind of factor in our lives.

But we can’t let the fear take over.

Of course we should acknowledge that it’s there, find ways to deal with it, and use it as a reminder to be more vigilant, but we can’t let it deter us from doing things. If fear stops us from getting on a bus in Tel Aviv, or drawing a caricature of a prophet in Paris, or from going out on a Saturday night in Orlando, then we’ll be handing over a W to the terrorists. We will be allowing them to terrorize us.

So while a huge knot in my stomach still tightens every time I look at my flight itinerary, I will be at the airport on September 11th and I will board that plane to London. And I will think about and remember the people that boarded planes 15 years ago and never made it to their destination, but I will not let the terrorists who took away their lives stop me from living mine.

About the Author
Danielle is an Israeli-American residing in LA. She is a graduate of UCLA and Tel Aviv University, and currently works for the Israeli-American Council, the fastest growing Jewish organization in the US.
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