Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Not Just the Freedom to Fly

Explorer C

I have had the privilege to work in the Legislative Communications & Grassroots Department at Southwest Airlines for over two years. Among our many other tasks, our department has been out in full force in 2008 registering our Employees to vote.  We were present at every Message to the Field. We hosted Voter Registration Drives at various stations and Flight Attendant bases.  Most of the time, we have Employees say to us “I have already registered and I vote every in every election.”  However, every so often we have an Employee who is not registered, and our Team is there to help them with their momentous occasion!

I will never forget the day I registered to vote!  It was on my 18th birthday. My father told me the night before the big birthday that I could check into school late because we were going to breakfast and then we had some other “official business to take care of.”  I didn’t question him because I was thrilled to have a morning to sleep in during my senior year of high school.  When I got up that morning, I finally asked what else are we going to do.  He said that after breakfast we are going to Register to Vote!  Politics was very important in the home I grew up in.  We would have “mini parties” on election night with patriotic-themed plates and napkins and American Food, and I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime and watch the returns come in. My father recognized the importance of the greatest right we have as American citizens--voting.  It was just two weeks before the cut-off to register to vote because the next presidential election was only six weeks away.  I will always remember that birthday because, not only did I get a really cool stereo, I registered to vote! Election night that year at our “family party” was even more special to me because I had been able for the first time to cast my vote.  I have since gone on to college and moved to another state. My father reminded me that I needed to change my voter registration immediately.   He has always called on the morning of an election to remind me to vote.  And I know this year will be no different---even if the call does come at 6:00 am! (Don’t worry, Daddy. I already early voted!)
Recently Dora Villarreal in our Emergency Response Department walked over to pick up a couple of voter registrations forms.  She picked up two forms, and I asked “Oh, is one for your husband?” She said, "No, my parents became United States Citizens this year after living in the US since 1967."  Realizing that this country has given her parents what they have today, they are grateful for that and feel the need to vote and make a difference at a place they call home.  Dora’s story really touched me. How lucky are we!

So tomorrow, remember that you not only have the Freedom to Fly but you have the Freedom to Vote! Get out & vote!