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Airport gate greetings, actually

Back in the olden days, the NYC skyline featured the two towers and 9/11 was simply an obnoxious fraction and not the source of so much fear and dismay.

Many things in our world changed as a result of 9/11, and one of them was the erasure of airport gate greetings.

Before 9/11 changed the world, I enjoyed witnessing warm greetings and loving farewells at airport gates. Whether lovers, parents, friends, or something else, it was a glimpse of raw emotion that we rarely saw anywhere else, except when contrived and over-acted in a movie-of-the-week.

On an October Sunday at the airport in Seattle, I seemed to have been teleported into the past when I witnessed a rare airport-gate greeting: what I assume was a grandmother who’d been allowed to come to the gate to fetch her three unaccompanied-minor grandchildren. The kids were blasé, but their lack of emotion was more than made up for by their elated Grandma. It hearkened so clearly to those older times when we so often could play voyeur to heartfelt moments such as these.

If I’d seen this any time up through the first week of September in 2001, I might barely have noticed. But this understated public display seen now after all these years? It was something for me to delightfully treasure just one more time. Either that or I have completely misinterpreted what I saw. But I will choose to believe this reality that I’ve authored.

Of course I must end this with the opening scene from Love Actually, which features the warmth of the airport gate greetings that we will almost never see again. [I had not remembered that the narration in this scene also brings up 9/11. Can anyone recall the loveliness of these greetings without also conjuring the evil that took them away?]

Check out this clip from the opening

Feature image credit: Wikimedia