September 2002 LUVLINES: Colleen Barrett: "A Heartfelt Thanks from Colleen"
"Shock...disbelief...horror...anger...sorrow. Words simply were not adequate to express our wide range of emotions when our country was hit by its worst attack of terrorism on September 11, 2001.
Now, one year later I find myself still having trouble with words, but it's for a different reason. I honestly don't know that I could ever come up with enough words to describe the pride I have for each of you in the way you've so bravely fought to return the skies safely to our Fellow Americans. What an inspiratoin you've been to me and to our entire country!
Our nation, our industry, and our personal lives changed forever on September 11, 2001. We learned that we could not return to "business as usual," and we quickly learned to deal with the challenges of doing business in a changed world. We had to reassure the American people that air travel could be safe and manageable. To do so, we implemented 200+ Security Directives and Procedures in the past year; changed from our plastic boarding passes to automated boarding passes; began the implementation of self-service RAPID CHECK-IN kiosks; and spent millions for more personnel and facilities needed for security purposes. Through all the changes, our mission to provide safe, dependable, and affordable air travel remains intact.
Countless hours were worked; blood, sweat, and tears were shed; common sense and good judgment were widespread; Teamwork and Leadership skills were exhibited; and proudly flew the flag; many dontated blood; others gave generously to relief funds; hundreds shared messages of hope and faith; and you all took care of each other.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for overcoming tremendous adversity, embracing change, and providing the best Customer Service in the airline industry. As I said in our messages that aired following 9-11, "Nothing can keep our country or Southwest Airlines from moving ahead." I think this past year proves just that. You've accepted the responsibility to build a stronger America and a stronger Southwest Airlines. Nothing could make me prouder.
Please join me in taking your right hand, placing it over your heart, and saying the "Pledge of Allegiance." Now let's all take a moment of silence to remember those innocent victims of terrorism who lost their lives, the courageous heroes who worked to save them, and the loving families they left behind. May you find strength in the triumph of the human spirit which has prevailed and carried our nation through this difficult year."
This was in the first page of our September 2002 issue of our airline's newsletter, written by our CEO Colleen Barrett. This message is not only for employees, but I feel for Customers also. Thank you for keeping America flying, and God be with you and yours as we approach the 1 year anniversary of the horrific day that touched us all...