Kindness of Strangers #Thursday Book Feature

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

by Jim DeFede
Copyright 2002.

What Amazon Says

The True Story Behind the Events on 9/11 that Inspired Broadway’s Smash Hit Musical Come from Away

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.

 

My Thoughts

There are plenty of accounts of people surviving 9/11: a blind man whose guide dog led him down 78 flights of stairs to escape the World Trade Center, a blind cat left alone in a New York apartment for several days. This book looks at the tragedy from a different angle. On that fateful day, we were all too preoccupied with the people on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the firefighters trying to save as many people as possible at Ground zero. It never occurred to us that other airplane passengers, although safe, were stranded in unfamiliar territory as a result of the closure of U.S. air space. Many of these passengers had relatives in New York, and one couple’s son was a firefighter at Ground Zero.

I like the way the author tells the stories of some of those passengers stranded in Canada, bringing them to a satisfying conclusion. I was amazed that some of the people in Gander and surrounding areas invited these passengers, total strangers, to their homes to shower and sometimes sleep. This is something I would never feel comfortable doing.
While reading this book, I was comparing the 9/11 tragedy to the Covid 19 pandemic we’re experiencing now. Although not as violent, the coronavirus has claimed many lives and affected a lot of people. Maybe someday, someone will write a book like The Day the World Came to Town, an account of the kindness of strangers in one corner of the world.

***

By the way, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are now available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated by the coronavirus. This sale will run until the end of May. Please

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

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