Stories of Kindness, 15 Years On.
|Amy Widdowson||Sep 15, 2016|
Good morning, darlings! I woke up this morning thinking it was Tuesday, so I’m already two days ahead of life at this point, which is nice. I know this is a few days late, but I wanted to share a story with you all that my Mum reminds me of every year.
On 9/11, I was in Grade 12 (that’s Senior Year for the Americans out there) in Calgary, AB. I watched the towers come down while in my Communications Technology class. Over the next month, our school raised thousands of dollars for the American Red Cross and sent a book of condolences, a token of solidarity for our neighbors to the south. Acts of help and kindness towards the United States happened across Canada, and across the world, on both small and large scales.
But the story my Mum sends me is of a small town in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada. Gander, a town of 10,000 people, took in more than 6,700 people from 38 planes. And not only did the planes land, but the passengers were taken care of by a town that seemingly had nowhere to put them, but welcomed them into their living rooms, community centers, schools, coffee shops.
This was a part of a larger Canadian response called Operation Yellow Ribbon, with the goal of clearing US airspace quickly and safely. Stories abound, like one woman who reported that "After 28 hours on the plane, she and her fellow passengers were bused to the even tinier fishing village of Lewisporte. They spent the next three days in that town, where the mayor and most of the residents cooked elaborate meals, let them use their showers, even borrow their cars."
As Tom Brokaw covered in during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, 239 flights with 33,000 passengers landed at 17 Canadian airports. I highly encourage you to watch his forty minute feature on YouTube. And while Gander’s story is told annually, there's now a musical version, Come From Away, which is playing in DC.
Yours in hope,