Today, we pause to remember the tragedy that forever changed our country and our industry. Nineteen years ago, an otherwise ordinary morning quickly changed into a day that none of us will ever forget. But, despite the chaos and destruction that ensued, it was also a shining example of how our unconquerable esprit de corps brought us all together as a Southwest Family to overcome the biggest challenge our industry had ever faced.
For almost three days after the terrorist attacks, the skies over the United States remained closed to all but a select few military and first responder flights. By the end of the week, Southwest resumed operations with a heavily modified schedule in an entirely new environment of procedures and restrictions. At 10:35 a.m. on Friday, September 14, Flight #145 departed from Nashville (BNA) with 49 Customers onboard, along with the pride of the (then) 33,000 Southwest Employees with a mission to keep America flying.
Employees line the fence at Southwest Headquarters to watch the first flight take off from Dallas Love Field (DAL) after the 9/11 terrorist attacks
As President George W. Bush said in remembrance of the tragedy, “One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. We pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”