Everyone remembers where they were on of September 11, 2001, a day that forever changed the fabric of our country. On that fateful morning, Virginia Buckingham was working as the head of Boston Logan International Airport — the departure site for the airliners that slammed into the Twin Towers. In this powerful installment of Open Mike Podcast, Virginia recalls managing the surreal events of that day, dealing with the sociopolitical fallout of unfairly being blamed for the attacks, and rebuilding her life after being scapegoated for unthinkable tragedy.

Show Notes

[0:24] Virginia’s bio

[01:38] Welcoming Virginia Buckingham to the show!

[02:22] Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11. Where were you on that day?

[03:35] When did you realize that two planes had left Boston Logan International Airport and were “down?”

[04:40] Can you take us through the chaos of that day?

[07:38] At some point in time after 9/11, there was some blame directed your way… ten men got through your security — did they have weapons on them?

[08:47] The checkpoints at that time were overseen by airlines and security independent securities, not the airport operators

[09:54] Was there anything wrong with the hijackers’ passports or other red flags that should have been detected?

[10:42] No one contemplated, before 9/11, that anyone would use a massive airliner as a weapon?

[11:59] Virginia was forced to resign six weeks later due to a public poll in which 40% of people thought she should be fired

[13:11] Virginia’s book On My Watch, explores how she put her life together after being the focus of national vitriol

[13:43] You’re forced to resign, and three years later, the 9/11 Commission Report comes out and probes questions about security the other airports involved. What were the other airports, and what did the report say about their security?

[16:12] Fast forward nineteen years… how do you feel today?

[17:08] You talk about setbacks and your book is very inspiring for those experiencing them…

[19:30] When did the hijackers who went through Logan buy their airline tickets and through what method?

[20:45] Were any of the hijackers on any watch lists at that point?

[22:21] Are we safer flying now than we were on September 11, 2001?

[25:57] Blame is a destructive force in our culture

[26:36] In hindsight, could anything have been done to prevent this?

[27:20] The hijackers took flight lessons before their attacks — is that regulated now?

[27:42] Was it hard to relive this when writing On My Watch, or was it a cathartic experience?

[28:30] What is the core message of the book?

[30:05] You mention that we can take lessons learned from 9/11 and apply them to the COVID-19 pandemic — can you elaborate?

[31:33] You’re an inspiration for those fighting against adversity. Do you have any final thoughts for our audience?

[32:24] Thank you to our guest, Virginia Buckingham. Her book, On My Watch, is available on all platforms

[32:52] Thanks for tuning in to Open Mike!

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