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Southwest Airlines Community

Five Years Later

blusk
Not applicable
It dawned a beautiful late summer's day here in Dallas too, and the sky was so crisp and clear, it almost hurt.  Little did I know until later that morning just how much the sky could hurt. I was in my doctor's office for my annual checkup, when the X-ray technician told me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, but I assumed that it was a wayward light aircraft.  It wasn't until I turned on the radio in my car and headed to work, that I got a grasp of the devastation.  One of the only bright spots of that day, which had turned so dark, was when we received word that our last aircraft had landed safely. The other bright spot in that dark day was the way we pulled together to take care of our Customers, our Coworkers (several of whom lost family members in the attack), and our own families.  That day, and the days that followed were the scariest, yet the proudest time of my own Southwest career.  If you would like to hear the thoughts of some of our Employees, please play the videos below.  (These videos were made shortly after 9/11, and although some Employees' titles have changed, their sentiments still remain moving five years later.) My parents used to tell me about how and when they heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  During my youth, I was in my sixth-grade class when the teacher next door, Mr. Montgomery, brought us news of President Kennedy's assassination.  Like those two earlier events, September 11, 2001, was one of those defining moments that reshape our lives forever.  This is your opportunity to share your memories of that horrible day, and we are asking you to share what you were doing when the world changed.  We ask that you keep your comments on topic and free of politics because this isn't the forum for that kind of discussion.   (There are no stories associated with the videos below.  If you'd like to leave a comment, please post to this story.)    
28 Comments
Francisco_Delga1
Not applicable
I was sound asleep in my college dorm room, when I recieved a phone call from a friend. She said start praying, America is under attack. I flipped on the TV, at that moment the second plane crashed into the second tower. This was such a hard day for all of America. I often think of all those that lost their lives, and all of those children who will never see their parents again. I have since joined the military and through the hardest days I always look at way I am serving. God Bless
Neil_Macready
Not applicable
On the first day airlines started flying again after 9/11, I was driving into Los Angeles from my home Redlands, CA. As I passed by Ontario Airport I saw a Southwest plane rising up from the runway. It was the most beautiful and inspiring takeoff I've ever seen. To me, it was SWA's statement, on behalf of an entire nation, that we're still here and we will survive. With tears in my eyes my only reaction was to dial the Rapids Rewards office and say thank you to that wonderful agent who answered the phone. As the fifth anniversary of that tragic day approaches, I again say "thank you Southwest Airlines." You'll never know how important it was to see your plane in the air that day.
Matt
Not applicable
One thing I find interesting is the American traveling public seems to forget that flight attendants are safety professionals and quite often do not respect us and the rules for air travel. The terror plot in England was a reminder...we're not out of this yet, and I noticed that day that the passengers were on their best behavior. Don't forget, we're there for your safety not just to serve you a Coke and peanuts. Stow that purse under the seat so your feet don't get caught in the strap if you have to get off the airplane in a hurry. If you're in the forward bulkhead...please don't complain about having to put your items up above. Its above your head and we'll gladly get it down for you after we get to a safe altitude. We're looking out for you! 😄
ele51
Not applicable
I just got off from bed when I saw on tv the 1st plane crashed thru the world trade center. I was not able to eat my breakfast, I loss my apetite even more went the 2nd plane crashed thru. I didn't know for how long I was keeping my mouth open in shock.
Krystal
Not applicable
I was working in the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World, I was about to take the loveable Disney characters out to Main St USA when my Manager ran in from the back of Toon Town into the break room and turned on the TV...they were showing the first plane that hit the tower, an ATC mistake we wondered, and then the other plane flew around the back of the tower and hit the other. I felt my eyes well up with fear. We were all shocked. They later closed the park and sent everyone home....I was stuck to the TV for 4 days following, waiting for the the next thing to happen, in disbelief for days, it just would not sink in.....I'm now employed at Southwest and proud to be a fighter!
Nona_Rogers
Not applicable
I was on a medical leave of absence from Southwest on 9/11. My husband called me and told me to turn on the TV. I watched the second plane fly into the World Trade Center. I immediately called my brother, a flight attendant for American AA. No answer. Then I called my sister, who also worked for American AA, she had not heard from my brother yet. Later in the day, my brother made contact and told us he was ok. I live very close to the airport in New Orleans. I waited and waited for the first plane to take off. When I heard the first jet flying overhead, days later, I hobbled out on my deck, and it was a Southwest 737. I stared at it, and prayed it wouldn't blow up before my eyes. I will never forget my helplessness at not being able to help my co-workers in their time of need. They spent hours and hours at hotels and the airport with our stranded Customers. Just tonight, my husband watched the TV movie Flt.93. When it was over, he came in and told me..."I almost cried"...and that if I watched it, I would. You see, he makes fun of me for crying when I watch "Emergency Vets", but he never gets emotional...until tonight. I have lived through, and am still living through Hurricane Katrina. Our loss was profound. But, we had warnings. Those who lost their lives as a result of the terroism of September 11 didn't. Let us never forget! Nona
Nicki_Dugan
Not applicable
I live in San Francisco and just so happened to have NPR on as I got ready for work at around 5:45am. Our local anchor broke into the pre-recorded "Morning Edition" and said there had been reports of a plane hitting one of the towers. Naturally the assumption had been that a small aircraft hit the tower... an error, a freak accident. I turned on CNN and saw that in fact this was a graver situation. I woke my husband, in tears, for I had lived just blocks from the towers before moving west and had just been in the WTC myself the week before. And then we watched in silent horror as the second plane hit... We had no idea how much the world was about to change in that instant. I work at Yahoo! and quickly realized this was not a day to stay home and grieve. So I girded up for one of the more unforgettable days at work. I have to drive past San Francisco Int'l Airport to get to the office and there was a very unnatural slowdown that morning as the few of us actually on the highway paused with a shared anxiety in seeing an airplane up close (sitting restless on the tarmac) for the first time since it had been used as a missile. Suddenly these were no longer just transportation vehicles -- they held a whole new significance. Could we ever get on one again? I did, in fact, just a few weeks later... and ran the Chicago Marathon, surrounded by flags and patriots. We were resilient, defiant and united. And we'll continue to be. Thanks for this moving post.
Sam111
Not applicable
It was Labor Day weekend, 2001, and we were taking a night flight from Kansas City to Indy. The plane originated in LA. As we sat down, a couple of businessmen started talking behind me. They learned they both worked at the World Trade Center. As they commented on the WTC, thoughts went through my mind to the bombing in 93? I thought I couldn't work there after someone tried to blow it up. After we landed, and were waiting for our bags, a smaller statue of a deeply tanned man asked a group of us what security was like at "Dallas". Being kind Americans, we told him about "Dallas". He finally said, "No, No,....Dullis". " Oh, the airport in Washington D.C." said one man, and being the nice businessmen travelers, the group informed him of security at Dullis. I often think and pray for the businessmen and their families. And, I often wonder about the other man on that SWA flight that night.
FriendofBlogBoy
Not applicable
It is amazing how our lives are often charted by defining moments -- whether they are happy and joyous or tragic and horrific. As we look back five years and recall where we were, let us also take comfort in thinking about where we've come. After those first terrifying hours, we as a country began pulling together in an incredible way. Complete strangers offered help to each other. Family members reached out to other family members. People started looking at their previous priorities in a new way and began re-ordering their lives in many cases. Bad things have a way of bringing out the good in people, and we've seen that in so many ways since September 11, 2001. We must never forget those who lost their lives that day in New York City, Washington, D. C., and in a field in Pennsylvania, and we need to pray for their survivors who are in various stages of dealing with and coping with their grief even now. For some, September 11th this year will bring up old pain with a renewed vigor as the nation remembers the day, but hopefully for most, the day will be like a rainbow after a rain storm, when we are reminded of God's presence and love. To those who lost much, we embrace you. To those who served so heroically in that time, we salute you. Kim P. S. Brian -- thank you for including those videos! What a very poignant demonstration of the Spirit of Southwest to see the LUV that your employees showed in those days!
Mary23
Not applicable
I had just finished my morning workout when I heard on the radio that a plane had flown into the WTC. I like so many assumed it was a small aircraft. I arrived home in time to see the second aircraft fly into the second tower. I work as reservation sales agent for Southwest so I knew that I would be needed at work ASAP. Being a former military person I went into what we used to refer to as recall mode. I got the kids off to school and reported to work. For the next three or four days I worked twelve hour days rescheduling passengers and reassuring passengers that we would only fly once everyone knew we could do it safely. To me it felt like being back in the military, that I was doing what I could while our country was under attack. I hope we never forget that day and the lessons learned.
interstate275fl
New Arrival
11 September 2001 is a date we will remember forever. I remember a week ago over Labor Day weekend in 2001 I took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale from Tampa on Southwest. The weekend before 9/11 my sister took a trip to Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest too. I was in my office doing filing and a few other clerical tasks when my co-worker came back from her break. My co-worker told me that one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York was hit; I said "are you serious?" as I stepped out of my office momentarily to go to one of the conference rooms where the TV was on. Once I looked at the images of the twin towers my jaw dropped and I got scared thinking what's next. I stayed at work all day until it was time to go home. Once I got home I was constantly glued to the TV practically all evening long.
Leah3
Not applicable
I was in the car & had had just turned on the radio when I heard. I was on my way to school (college). I had only two classes that day, & I went to the morning one; the early afternoon class was cancelled & the school closed for the rest of the day. I watched the news later.
Evan_B
Not applicable
I lived in a suburb of Washington DC on 9/11. School closed early, and many of my peers heard rumors of attacks throughout Washington. Many were concerned about parents, of course. Being a pilot, I seemed to be the go-to-guy when people had questions - but I couldn't fathom how such a tragedy could occur. I'll never forget how that city changed, and how the roar of fighter jets broke the silence left by the absence of air travel. My thoughts go out to those who were, and still are, affected by the tragic events five years ago.
Shaun3
Not applicable
I received the call from my wife just before the second aircraft hit. She had just flown from Raleigh NC to Providence RI that morning and was admiring the view from the left side of the aircraft of New York about 30-45 minutes before it all happened. I stood in the living room watching as the second aircraft hit. She is a flight attendant and I work on the ground. I drove into work even though I wasnt due in until 2:00 p.m.. Later that morning myself and a couple of other coworkers drove around the Ramp looking at all the different aicraft that we normally dont see at our airport. It looked like an abandoned airfield. Planes were parked anywhere they could put them. Those who lost their lives are in our thoughts and prayers. The aviation industry has never been the same. There have been many changes to the rules, but seeing the record load factors this year has proven that this country has risen above those horrific acts. The innocent lives lost and the lives of our dedicated troops will never be forgotten. God bless America.
Phil_Willman
Not applicable
My family and I started a normal day, a day we had planned to go out to the New Mexico State Fair in ABQ. Since we don't watch much tv, we had not turned it on and had no clue what was happening across the country. While driving to the fair, we heard confusing reports on the radio about planes hitting buildings in NYC. My wife and I looked at each other with questions on our faces, unsure of what was going on. We got to the fair, but it was subdued from what we expected - fewer people about and an eerie feeling floating around. That day was Firefighters Day, so we naturally headed toward Main Street to check out the displays with our youngsters. Then we started hearing announcements that the Fair would be closing in a couple of hours, and again looked at each other not understanding. When we got to Main Street, we saw people just crowding around a couple of displays, not walking around at all. They were watching televisions, and we finally saw the pictures of what was happening, and were stunned. We hung around for a little bit watching events unfold, and then headed home to spend the rest of the day with family - just watching and praying that survivors would be pulled from the rubble. Then I received a surprising phone call just a few weeks later. You see, I had interviewed with SWA in ABQ in May, and was told I was "in," just waiting for a Customer Service Agent class to start. Well, after 9/11 I figured that was the end of that plan. But true to the Warrior Spirit, Southwest was hiring, bringing in hundreds of new Employees to help deal with the new (and ever-changing) security procedures and to make the airport experience as smooth as possible. As we at Southwest Airlines observe a moment of silence this morning, know that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who were affected by this tragedy. Truly, we will never forget.
Girt
Not applicable
My mouth dropped open and I thought..."What in the world?" Sitting in a hotel room in San Diego I couldn't believe what I was seeing on the TV. I had just finished working on an event for Southwest and wasn't scheduled to leave San Diego until two days later but something inside me said "You have to get home." It seemed like everyone didn't know how to react or what to do. Quickly the other Employees I was with got on the phone to try and locate a cheap deal on any rental car that was available. Luckliy we were told we had reserved the last car in the city. As we checked out of our hotel and got into a cab to take us to the airport to get our rental car we were in awe at how the entire city on a work day was dead silent. On a normal day the city would be bustling with traffic and noise but today an erie silence hung in the air. As we checked with the rental car agency we were greeted with an almost empty parking lot of cars. Many cars had already begun their journey home. As we prepared for the long journey from California to Texas we weren't sure what we would encounter or how long it would take us. While many Americans were glued to their Television sets our ears were our eyes as we listened to the radio stations broadcast the devistation that had captured our nation. Along the way we saw long lines of cars waiting for gas, we encountered border stops (since we were traveling along the US border) with national gardsmen armed with automatic guns. Many places of business and restaurants were closed as people had left to be with their families. When we arrived at a hotel at 1:30 in the morning we were finally able to see with our eyes what we had been hearing over the radio. The gruesome pictures of the aftermath gave us pause as we stared in horror of the ruins. The bright lights shined on the spot where two mighty buidlings of steel had once stood. We made it home the next day and were happy to be back with our own famlies and our Southwest family. America had changed at least for a while. Patriotism was high. Flags were flying off the shelves as people rushed to show their American colors on their cars and at home. Public displays of affection were rampant as people cried, hugged, kissed, waved, shook hands, patted backs. Driving was pleasurable instead of feeling you had to fend for your life on the highway. Family values mattered, people mattered. I wish we could go back to the days after the attacks, not to relive the horror but to remember what it was like to live in a county that cared for each other and feel proud to call myself an "American."
blusk
Not applicable
Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. Your thoughts are eloquent, moving, and reaffirming, and I admit to tearing up over quite a few of them. We have all lived through so much, and I think your thoughts show why the American spirit is so strong. Brian
Gus_Olvera
Not applicable
I was working for JPMorganChase five years ago. I remember the morning to be like any other at first. Reconciling accounts, cutting checks, etc. Then one of my reports told me what happend at the World Trade Center. I immediately thought about my boss, who's partner worked in the North Tower on the 98th Floor. I ran to her office to find her crying, and continuously pressing the "talk" and "end" buttons on her cell phone. She looked up at me and said "She won't answer." Right after that, her bosses came and took her to a conference room and I never saw her again for several days. I am not sure why it took me so long, but it wasn't until a week later, that I was driving home from the gym and I just began to sob in my car. All I could think about was my friend and boss who lost the person she loved and thought would spend the rest of their lives together. Life is too short. We are but vapors in this world that are here and then gone in an instant. If you love someone, make sure you tell them as often as you can.
Jan_Gerber
Not applicable
The day that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 was an extremely sad day (I am tearful now), but I could not be more proud of all of the Americans that came together to help one another. It was absolutely amazing that all of the airplanes could be rerouted after three days of pure chaos. I made it as far as St. Louis, MO, from Wichita, KS on the third day but I still could not fly to Seattle, WA, yet. The terminal was almost still and full of passengers waiting to get to their destinations. There was no activity with the airplanes at the gates or on the runways - a most unusual sight! All of the screens were broadcasting the church service with Blly Graham as the speaker which aired around the world. This event affected almost everyone in some way. There is not much I can do except to say thank you for encouraging us to continue flying. I think it is so important to continue on with life even though danger lurks nearby. God does not give us fear but a boldness to step forward and do what is right. Even though my family members live all across the country, this attack has reminded us that we should do everything we can to express our love for one another.
Robin9
Not applicable
I was at a training class in Dallas when the event happened. I normally don't watch TV in the morning so when I went downstairs for breakfast they had the TV in the eating area on but the sound was off. To me it just looked like a building on fire. Only when I went to go get the shuttle to the Univeristy for People at Love Field did the shuttle driver let me know about the plane and the possability of terrorisim. I did not want to believe that, instead I convinced myself that it had to be a mechanical error of some sort. On the way, there was speculation and rumors going rampant. Then the second plane hit. I remember the facilitator, bless her, coming into class to let us know that they were evacuating the airport and that we were all being shuttled back to our hotels. I felt helpless. I wanted to go to the reservation center located in Dallas at the time to help out my Company. Unfortunately that was not an option so I sat glued to the TV with a group of people that I did not know and cried on each other shoulders. I also remember being on the top of the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas and looking at the sky and thinking how strange it was to see no DFW or LUV field air traffic. But the "Best" memory of that even happened the day that our first flight took off. We went downstairs and lined up at the fence that faces the gate area. We watched the plane being pushed back and all of us waved. The pilots waved back and so did the Customers. That made me soooo proud. From where we were we could not get a clear site of the runway but once the plane took off we were all laughing and crying and hugging each other because we knew that no matter what, someones evil act could cange our lifestyle a bit, but they could not effect how we live our lives. Robin Sell Team Leader/Oklahoma City Reservations
Deanna1
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As my husband, Phil, has already posted, we were on our way to the NM State fair with our kids. The kids at that time were 7 and almost 6. When we realized what had happened and why the fair was closing, we headed back to the car. The kids were confused and did not understand why the midway was not going to open and why they could not ride any of the rides or eat our usual State Fair foods. WHat do you say to a 6 and 7 year old? How do you tell them that the country in which they live is no longer the safe haven that all of us believed it to be? How do you explain to them that there are people out there in the world who would choose to harm us? And how hard it is to look in their faces and dream dreams for their futures when you know that those futures are very vulnerable! It was this year, five years later, that our kids are finally grasping what happened and what it means. They have asked very hard questions, some that do not have answers- at least not logical ones. They now know that nothing is certain- even our freedom is as risk if we are not vigilent at defending it. They are growing up with a cloud over their futures that no other generation before them had known. What I took for granted; family, friends, freedom, and the very future, has become fragile and uncertain. No matter our politics, preferences, backgrounds or differences, we as a people must once again become UNITED. If not for ourselves, then at least for our children. United we stand, divided we fall.
Anne3
Not applicable
My flights on SW as well as many of my friends are limited. They drive from Illinois to get a flight at Gen. Bill Mitchell. From Milwaukee its another airline too. I fly from Santa Fe to MKE and will not drive to/from Chicago to use SWA...come on, how about some flights to and from MKE? We would all appreciate it.
Andrea4
Not applicable
I had just come back into my dorm room, sophomore year of college when my roommate turned to me and said, "My mom just called and said a plane hit the World Trade Center." We honestly joked about it for a couple minutes, saying, "How could a plane HIT the World Trade Center?! Those towers have been there forever...it's not like they just went up!" We turned on the tv and saw the horrific sight of the second plane hitting the second tower. To put it bluntly -- that shut us up quickly. We were both stunned, mouths wide open, staring at the tv screen. I still had to go to my morning class that day and when I walked in, nobody knew what I was talking about as they had been in classes at the time. We got out of class early and when I returned to my dorm room my roommate was still glued to the television. She told me that the first tower had fallen. About 10 minutes later, we watched as the second tower fell. We didn't move away from the tv for the rest of the day. I remember calling my parents and telling them that I loved them. I was terrified that America was going to be 100% under attack and really believed that nobody was safe. My current roommate and I went and saw United 93 in the movie theater. That was probably the most powerful movie I have ever seen. I pictured myself on that plane in the place of the young girl calling home. I pictured my loved ones in the places of those on the plane that were of similar ages. It really hit me hard and I was crying so hard by the end of that movie that it simply exhausted me. 5 years after the attacks, I feel that some Americans are trying to forget the horrible tragedies of that day...and then I see families and friends who lost loved ones and I just wonder how anyone can try to forget. God Bless the survivors, family members and friends, and of course all of those lost on that fateful day, 9/11/01.
Joe_Turner
Not applicable
I am in the Customer Service business and have been for 26 years. This puts me on the road much of the time. This week it was OAK-TPA-AUS-LAX and then SNA to OAK and back home to Napa. I travel with SWA even when slightly better schedules are available. Why? SWA delivers on the promise and they seem to enjoy doing so. My Rapid Rewards shows that I have earned 320+ credits. I could not have been successful without SWA. That is the truth. Sure, I pay for the tickets and I guess that makes us even but it seemed to me that something more was needed. So, three years ago, I started giving each flight crew American flag pins. I have given out more than a thousand flag pins. In every case, the SWA people appreciated the gesture and told me so. To me - I cannot say what they really think - it forges the bond a little closer and maybe lets the SWA people know how vital they are to the success of my busness. If you are looking for me next week, be patient. My wife and I are off on a great SWA cruise to Alaska.
Joy_Payne
Not applicable
I was in the shower following my morning routine when my husband opened the door and said, "A plane just hit the one of the towers at the World Trade Center." I cut my shower short and quickly went into the den to see what had happened. The anchor woman kept saying, "What kind of mechanical failure would make that possible for an airline to fly into the tower?" "How could an airline -a jet- make an error like that to fly into the tower?" My husband began screaming at the television, "It's terrorists, you idiot! It's terrorists!" He is a military man and one who is rarely overly emotional. I can remember turning , almost in slow motion, to look at him and the fear and disgust I saw in his face was almost as terrifying as the reality of what had just happened. Then the second plane hit. The realization that my beloved country really was under attack-and by whom?--made my heart skip. Fear welled inside me and almost as quickly, sadness. I knew in that eight o'clock hour life as we knew it would never be the same. I turned to ask my husband what he thought all of this meant. And there he stood, after his top of the lung outburst at the tv anchorwoman, with tears silently slipping down his cheeks. May God continue to bless America.
Charlie_G_
Not applicable
On September 7, 2001, I bought my Ticketless Travel from southwest.com and was all set to visit my friend Crystal in Arlington, VA. She had moved there a few months previously and I had decided to visit her over the Columbus Day weekend. Crystal assured me that it was easy to get to her apartment on Columbia Pike: "You get off the Metro at the Pentagon and the bus is right there...." Four days later and our lives--and especially air travel--changed forever. I had weeks to think about whether I should cancel my travel plans--especially given that I was traveling to one of the places that was attacked. But I wanted to see my friend, and I *didn't* want to let Bad People win. I can tell you that security at the airports was *nothing* compared to what I saw in finding my way to the bus at the Pentagon (the main Metrobus transfer point is now at Pentagon City, one stop down the line). The bus took me right around the Pentagon and I could see the missing section like a slice missing from a cake. But I had a great visit with Crystal and our Columbus Day visit to the Capitol City Brewery's Oktoberfest at Shirlington Village is now an annual tradition. Take *that*, Osama!
Don2
New Arrival
I had just gotten home from work from my shift at the firehouse and was reading some e-mail when my wife hollared down from upstairs that I had better come up and take a look at the news. The first reports were of a light or possibly a commuter plane had hit the North tower. I looked at the picture on the TV screen and said to her that there was WAY too much of a damage footprint in the side of the tower for it to be a small plane. I remember right then beginning to feel unsettled as to what was going on. Then, all doubt was removed as the 2nd explosion was shown live and in horrible living color. I hadn't seen the plane come in, but my wife had and she said to me, "We're under attack aren't we" I remember the most cold feeling go through me as we watched this unfold before our eyes. I knew that our lives had changed forever. Then as the buildings came down and with them, knowing that many thousands were now dead the most unbelievable feeling of helplessness went through me, followed by a cold, a very cold rage. Our fire department stood to and prepared for God knows what as we are only about 75 miles from NYC. This truly was a day of infamy! My first flight, after that day, was on Southwest to Orlando for a conference in December of 01. The plane was only about a third full as we left Hartford, but EVERYONE on that plane was alert, but friendly with each other, sort of as a huge KISS MY *SS to the terrorists. I was proud to be in the air that day. and every day since. I do fear that many have become complacent 5 years later. I also commend the flight attendants for keeping their sense of humor and duty while giving the pre flight safety briefing while most of the people on board do their best to NOT listen to them. Its the best three minutes you'll ever spend folks. and who knows, it just MIGHT come in handy. At least give them the courtesy and listen to what they tell you! If you're sitting by that exit window, the butt you save just might be MINE!
Ray_Uribe
Not applicable
My wife and I had sailed out of New York harbor the evening of September 10th at 9:45PM on what was to be on a very long awaited 10 day cruise vacation on the British ship "Princess". As we were eating breakfast, docked at New Port, R.I., the Captain announced on the PA system that an aircraft had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Like many others, I assumed that a light aircraft had strayed into the tower - that is until a second PA announced a second strike at the World Trade Center. That was the beginning of a very long an anxious cruise where we eventually ported into Monteal, Canada on 9/21. The ship's Captain explained that he had no choice but to continue with the cruise itinerary under the circumstances of what was going on in the U.S. and subsequent ripple effect in the world. To make a long story shorter, ship to shore communications to all but those on board who had relatives in New York City were impossible. We had no idea what the status of our people and company of Southwest Airlines was until near the end of the cruise. The Canadians at all of our stops were fantastic in their support of we Americans and of the U.S. Hand printed/painted signs of support were everywhere as well as our Flag being displayed on their homes and buildings. We were able to get the very last flight out of Montreal to DFW that American Airlines would have for quite a while (a newscast stated that the largest Muslim community in North America was in Monteal). That flight had only 3 seats available for 'civilians' as it was filled only with American Airlines' flight crews and other employees. As a retired AAer, I really shared in the grief and quiet anger of the crews - It was the saddest flight I have ever experienced. Back home, and back on the job, it was wonderful to see the resolve and caring spirit of our Southwest Airlines family ready to fight the battle and ensure our Freedom to Fly.