September 11, 2001. It’s one of those days where any one of us can recall what we were doing when we heard about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center’s twin towers. Everyone has his own story of how he survived or what he did in the days immediately following the largest terrorist attack in U.S. history.
In the book The Day the World Came to Town Jim DeFede tells the story of how the roughly 10,000 residents of Gander, Newfoundland spent 9/11 and the days immediately following when 6,132 passengers were diverted to their town. U.S. airspace had been shut down and 38 international flights found a new arrival destination in Gander. Overnight the population of this small town nearly doubled. Diapers, prescriptions, food, lodging, and many more needs had to be met. Instead of reacting negatively to these unexpected strangers, these Newfies chose to look for ways to make their visitors’ stay a positive one. I was inspired to read about real people giving in a real way.
DeFede masterfully weaves the story of compassion, generosity, and love without confusing the reader with multiple characters or detracting from actual events. The Day the World Came to Town allowed me to reflect on the horrific events of 15 years ago while maintaining a refreshing and upbeat attitude. Fred Rogers is quoted as saying “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’“ The residents of Gander, Newfoundland became the helpers Rogers’s mother knew would always be there.
DeFede, Jim. The Day the World Came to Town, 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland. Regan Books 2002.
#ChoosingWisdom #Service #ShareGoodness
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Will you allow life to teach you or defeat you