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.
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What I learned after moving to the Lone Star state ...... Why did the Texas chicken cross the road? To prove to the armadillo that it really CAN be done! I haven't learned much after that however....
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