The Day The World Came To Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim Defede

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U.S. airspace was closed and all airlines inbound were forced to land on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. 38 jetliners headed for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Newfoundland and the small town went from a population of 10,300 to nearly 17,000.

“The Day The World Came To Town, 9/11, tells how the citizens of Gander welcomed the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. The passengers had been held on board their plans for in some cases more than 24 hours and were upset, hungry and even fearful for their and their loved one’s lives. The townspeople came out in full force to greet them and had prepared a large meal for them.  

Local bus drivers who had been on strike came off the picket lines to transport the passengers to the various shelters set up in local schools and churches.  A middle school, as well as residents, provided showers, access to computers, email, and televisions, enabling the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

“For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding towns stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of mankind when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed.”

A amazing event in the middle of a horrendous tragedy.

Quotes

“They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed. If the terrorists had hoped their attacks would reveal the weaknesses in western society, the events in Gander proved its strength.”


“Neighbor to neighbor. It is a mentality that has been fostered over centuries, since the earliest settlers realized the only way to survive in this desolate but beautiful outpost was to work together. Much of their music captures this spirit.”


“Their willingness to help others is arguably the single most important trait that defines them as Newfoundlanders. Today, it is an identity they cling to, in part, because it is something that cannot be taken away from them.”

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