The Day the World Came to Town

The Day the World Came to Town

by Jim Defede

Overview:When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. The citizens of Gander met the stranded passengers with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill.

As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours while security checked all of the baggage, they were greeted with a feast prepared by the townspeople. 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. Linens and toiletries were bought and donated. A middle school provided showers, as well as access to computers, email, and televisions, allowing the passengers to stay in touch with family and follow the news.

Over the course of those four days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime. As a show of thanks, scholarship funds for the children of Gander have been formed and donations have been made to provide new computers for the schools. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.

Faith Bowers (08/16/19): Recommended by this website, I concur that this is a feel good well written account of how small town Newfies took care of almost 5000 air travelers from 38 jets. Gander was a very popular airport before advent of the jet and transatlantic flights. Their culture of loving kindness was a curative towards the displaced travelers due to 9/11.
Rating: ***

Elaine Marlin (07/21/19): This is a true account of passenger jets whose pilots were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, as the airspace in America was blocked after 9/11. The townspeople in and around Gander, sprung to action to accommodate passengers from 38 airlines, which came from Europe and all over the world. So many positive things were done for the people who were forced to stay for sometimes several days, away from their loved ones. So many personal stories and wonderful examples of hard work, kindness, compassion, and every positive word I can't even think of!

I did not know of this book, written in 2002, by a Miami journalist named Jim Defede, until I recently saw the wonderful musical: Come From Away, which came to Miami. After that, I started looking for more information, and thank goodness, discovered this book. There are so many fine reviews "on line", that I don't need to add more. If you want to find out what makes good people good, for just the sake of being good, read this book!
Rating: *****

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