Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede

In August, the Fantastic Fictioneers will take on a nonfiction book called The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede.  It sounded like an interesting book, so I picked it up.

On 9-11, 2001, there were 4546 civilian aircraft over the United States and over 250 planes over the ocean when American airspace was shut down because of the attack on the World Trade Center.  Canada took in the international flights of which 38 planes landed in Gander, Newfoundland.  The town of about 10,000 people took in 6,595 passengers, housed, fed, and clothed them for 4 or 5 days. 

By the time the "plane people" got off their planes and went through customs with nothing but their carry-on luggage, they were bused to various area shelters, given clean sheets, towels and new toothbrushes, were fed, showered (often in residents' homes), and, in general, made to feel like they'd suddenly come home.

The book mainly tells the story of a few families/individuals and their experiences during what became a continental crisis.

I found out that 9/11 ripple effect had far-ranging effects.  I found out that there are still places in the world where people treat strangers like family.  It made me want to visit Newfoundland someday.

Kathi Linz

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