The Day the World Came to Town

I don't normally read books about September 11th. In fact I usually try avoid them at all costs. But Jim DeFede's The Day the World Came to Town pull at me. I had known that a heck of a lot of planes got grounded in Canada that day. And I knew that a lot got grounded in Gander. But I hadn't heard the stories.

Gander used to be a major stop for airplanes heading across the Atlantic. In it's heyday it saw lots of planes, lots of celebrities. It was a major stop for Allied planes in WWII. It was a bustling airport. Bigger planes put an end to most of that. But on 9/11 it became a center of major importance. It could handle big planes. And it could handle lots of them.

It brought to the forefront things that I had never really considered about that day, like how the pilots and crew felt about hearing that planes had been used as weapons. How they felt in the air and how they felt afterwards. And I never really heard stories of the people that were stranded.

Having grown up in PEI I consider Newfoundlanders to be my neighbours. I've worked side-by-side with them in PEI fish plants and Newfies and Islanders share a lot of traits. They understand small towns. If they can help you they will without thinking twice about it. They are friendly. They understand how to take care of people. And on 9/11 and the days that followed the people of Gander and the neighbouring communities did it in spades.

Yes, it's a 9/11 book. And yep you'll want to cry. But it will also make you want to visit the Gander and give every single person there a big hug. And it makes you hopeful that you'd do the same thing, that your town would do the same thing, in a crisis.