Portland seen as welcoming home to immigrants after 9/11 | Bangor Daily News

Paul Bradbury, then the facilities engineering manager at the Portland Jetport, was in a staff meeting the morning the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. When the second plane hit, everyone in aviation knew it was some form of terrorism, Bradbury said.In the days that followed, details emerged. The world learned that Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari came to Portland, stayed at the Comfort Inn in South Portland, bought gas at a local Exxon, took some cash out of ATMs, stopped at Walmart and dined at a Pizza Hut.

Then they left their rental car at the Jetport parking lot and boarded a US Airways Express flight into Logan Airport in Boston, where they boarded the plane they would turn into a weapon.

They exploited a weakness in American society, the common wisdom that people should comply during a hijacking, mugging or robbery.

U.S. aviation essentially was shut down for about two weeks. When flights resumed, things were changed in Portland and across the country.

“When we reopened, we’d taken this huge mental and psychological hit, so part of the recovery was psychological, too. We had National Guard at the airports with machine guns,” said Bradbury.

Click for the rest of the story by Matt Wickenheiser in the Bangor Daily News.

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