05:27 AM

DFW International Airport Commemorates Fifth Anniversary Of Sept. 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

Airport employees and airline community gather to honor victims and heroes, “Our aviation system is safer than ever before”

DFW INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (Sept. 11, 2006) – DFW International Airport commemorated the fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001 today at a 9 a.m. memorial at Founders Plaza. More than 200 Airport employees and others from the aviation community gathered as the Airport flags were lowered to half-staff to hear from Airport executives and remember those who lost their lives during the events of five years ago.  

The speeches given today by Kevin Cox, chief operating officer and Jim Crites, executive vice president of operations, both of DFW International Airport can be found below.  

Kevin Cox, Chief Operating Officer DFW International Airport

This is indeed a solemn, occasion. 

We all lived and worked together during those frightful hours on September 11, 2001 and indeed pulled together here at DFW International Airport to make it through that tragic, terrifying day. 

We did it for our passengers, we did it for each other, and we did it for our friends and families. 

So it is fitting and appropriate we come together to honor and recognize the victims, the heroes and the survivors of that day. 

Each one of us has a 9/11 memory or story. It is forever etched in our minds. 

What I personally remember and am quite proud of is the collective performance and heroism of the entire DFW employee team. 

Our employees, ambassadors and chaplains in the terminals worked tirelessly to accommodate and calm our passengers.

Our operations and airfield staff worked diligently with the FAA to safely accommodate the dozens of extra airplanes that unexpectedly landed here that day.

Our Department of Public Safety worked bravely to protect us that day, because for much of 9/11, we did not know if the terrorist attacks were over -- or what was coming next.

And many of you left your desks and offices all around our Airport to head to the terminals, pitch in wherever needed, and help.

At the end of that awful day, we could honestly and proudly say that every one of our thousands of passengers was comforted, assisted, and in some cases, taken home by our own employees to have a place to stay.

This was the American spirit, the Texas spirit, and the DFW spirit at its best.

Out of that dark day, our all-employee, all-volunteer Holiday Helpers force was begun. And today, five years later, it’s still going strong.

Its mission remains simple and timeless: assist our passengers on extremely busy travel days and make DFW a more comfortable place for them.

The program has become a national model for volunteerism at airports and all of us thank you and honor you for what you did on September 11 and what you continue to do today.

Today, we remember our brothers and sisters in the airline and aviation business around the United States and around the world – because we all were dramatically affected by the events of 9/11. 

And we are still affected today. Many of us knew friends and families and colleagues who perished that fateful day. Our business suffered serious consequences and setbacks.

But out of those dark days of September 2001, we have persevered, survived and worked together to rebuild our lives and our industry.

Today as we gather, let us remember those who are no longer with us – and their families who miss them so much. Let us acknowledge and applaud the heroes.

And let us never forget what happened that day as we look into the future.

This great Airport survived that day, and it was only because of each and every one of you, and thousands more across these 18,000 acres. You made it all happen…one hour, one hug, one reassurance at a time.

Thank you, and God bless you and your families.

Jim Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations DFW International Airport 

 first want to take a moment to thank Kevin Cox and Ken Capps for what you do for DFW and America every day. Kevin, I think I speak on behalf of all of my fellow employees in expressing my sincere appreciation of all of your leadership over these past five years and the empowerment you have given us in all of our efforts. Ken, one of the key findings of the 9/11 Commission was the need for clear and concise communications. You have indeed taken us to a whole new level regarding this important task. You received your baptism by fire on your first day which was 9/11 and I must say that you and your staff are to be commended for all you have done for us and the flying public. 

This is indeed a day where our airport family and community needs to come together and remember that awful day, and also recognize how far we have traveled and grown together since then. 

Today, we mourn with all our friends at American and United Airlines and the families of all those who lost their lives as part of the tragic events of September 11.

But let me be clear – as terrible as the terrorist attacks of September 11 were, our collective response to those attacks, our coming together as a nation and as an aviation community far eclipse in a positive way the harm that these terrorists attempted to inflict.

We also have had the honor and privilege to see and welcome home our brave men and women in uniform travel through our Airport every day back and forth to the combat zones to protect our freedom and us. We are extremely grateful for their sacrifice and for all of the heartfelt efforts on behalf of our employees and fellow citizens in welcoming them home on all of our behalf.

Once again, we are united, we are one and our entire aviation system is safer and stronger than ever before.

Here at DFW, our efforts in airport security are recognized and admired around the world.

We have added millions of dollars of security technology in all of our terminals, redesigned International Terminal D after 9/11, and given our Department of Public Safety new tools and training to do their jobs.

Some of those new tools are on display here on our airfield today.

More importantly, our team of professionals have strengthened their relationships with all other emergency service providers providing more effective communications, collaboration and coordination across all of their efforts which we have learned is critical to effective security – In short, they are united, they are one.

What all of this points to is that effective security has its origins in the men and women who wear the uniform and pin on the badge every day who make it all work to serve, protect and defend our 60 million annual passengers. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you that you will not find anywhere in the world a more dedicated or more professional team of public safety officers than those we have here at DFW.

And so I thank you, our DPS officers, our firefighters and our paramedics, who have been on the front lines in the war of terror since September 11, 2001 and remain there today.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge the men and women of the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security here at DFW and around the country, who have faced extremely difficult challenges over the past five years, and we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them every day to protect our passengers and employees.

On September 11, 2002, we dedicated our new Public Safety Station #5 to the first responders of 9/11, and were honored to have representatives of the New York Police Department, New York Fire and EMS and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey join us to honor the heroes of 9/11 and dedicate that building to their memory.

And that facility is indeed a living memory and fitting memorial, because our Airport stands ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist and protect our passengers.

Prior to 9/11, on 9/11, and in the five years since 9/11, our mission has never changed. We are truly proud to work at DFW in service to our passengers and our country.

Thank you for all you do for this great Airport and God bless you and your families.