Ohio Air Traffic Controllers Spoke to Terrorists on 9/11

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CLEVELAND — A moment of silence was observed at 8:46 a.m. by passengers, staff members and city officials at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Wednesday.

The ceremony marked the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration, the airport unit of the Cleveland Police Department, Cleveland Public Safety and U.S. Customs and Border Protection were on hand.

Wednesday’s gathering in the main concourse at the airport featured a color guard and singers who performed patriotic songs.

“It gives me a lot of pride to see what’s happened, there’s a real partnership out here and I’ve very proud of that,” said Airport Commissioner Fred Szabo.

According to Szabo, that day was filled with panic. Air traffic controllers in Northeast Ohio actually spoke to the terrorists flying the plane that crashed in Shanksville shortly after making a turn over Cleveland.

Following the attacks, more than 20,000 people were stranded in the Cleveland area after planes were grounded.  Airport officials said every rental car was gone and hotel rooms were booked within one hour of the attack.  It took approximately three-days to get stranded passengers to their final destinations.

"Twelve years later, we're much safer now, it works much better and every day we're just trying to make it safer and more customer friendly," said Szabo.

(The Terminal Tower on Sept. 11, 2013.)

(The Terminal Tower on Sept. 11, 2013.)

As another sign of respect, Governor John Kasich ordered flags be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout the state Wednesday.

He issued a resolution for Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"We honor and pay tribute to our courageous men and women in uniform serving around the world, as well as to the dedicated members of our law enforcement, public safety, and intelligence communities who work diligently to protect us from danger and when called upon, stand willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we hold dear,” it said.

The Terminal Tower was lit up in red, white and blue to begin a day of many demonstrations of patriotism.


An interfaith service was held at the gazebo in Lakewood Park to allow locals to pause and remember.

It began at 8 a.m. and included readings from several religions in an effort to promote peace and understanding.

Religious leaders from The West Temple and Trinity Lutheran Church led the 30-minute service.


Thousands of American flags were on display in front of Avon Lake High School.

The project was organized by students in the Key Club.


During the noon Mass at St. John Cathedral, the congregation stepped outside to Superior Avenue for the blessing of a memorial wreath at the Public Servants Memorial Flag Pole.

Fr. Theodore Marszal also spoke about the attacks and remembered those who have died in service since September 11.


A new 9/11 memorial will be dedicated at the Kennedy Park Veterans Memorial at 6 p.m.

Keynote speakers include a retired lieutenant air force colonel and the current public safety director who was in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.