Come from Away
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede
On Sept. 11, 2001 the whole world’s focus was on the World Trade Center in New York City. Everyone knows that story, but there is a lesser-known story that happened as a direct result of that terrible event.
Realizing that airlines were involved in 9/11, officials almost immediately closed all airports and banned all in-coming flights from landing in the U.S. This book tells the true story of what happened to 38 of those planes that were re-routed to Gander, Newfoundland in Canada.
Initially no one on the planes, including the pilots, knew the cause. They were simply told to return to the airport where they had started or to contact the closest airport and arrange to land there. For many airlines halfway across the Atlantic, that meant Gander, Newfoundland because, thanks to World War II military aircraft refueling, the small community had a large airport with exceptionally long runways that could accommodate the airliners.
From Tuesday, Sept. 11, through Sunday Sept. 16, the many small towns around Gander became hosts to the “plane people.” Because baggage had to be left in the holds, they had to supply food, clothing, prescription medicines, telephone connections, and, perhaps most importantly, reassurance to the 6,132 passengers from the international flights.
With cheerfulness, creativity, and generous hospitality, Newfoundland welcomed the world. A recent Broadway musical “Come From Away” has brought this story back into the public eye.
One’s faith in humanity is renewed after reading this warm-hearted book.
Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.