The town of Gander
December 31, 2001 6:07 PM   Subscribe

The town of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada is a town of 10,000 where 6600 airline passengers were diverted after the attacks of September. While hearing a radio story about it on NPR, I was moved to flubbery tears by the outpouring of camaraderie and cooperation by the townspeople and passengers. Happy New Year, Canadians, and everyone else too, after quite a tumultuous year.
posted by readymade (15 comments total)
There may be some discrepancy about the number of passengers on the ground: up to 10,500!
posted by readymade at 6:19 PM on December 31, 2001

Anyone have a link to the story?
posted by geoff. at 6:28 PM on December 31, 2001

I couldn't find the NPR story online yet (if it ever shows up) but there are many first person accounts and thoughts on the Gander website.
posted by readymade at 6:40 PM on December 31, 2001

Try this -- an interview conducted by Noah Adams on September 13.
posted by apollo at 6:46 PM on December 31, 2001

Canoe says the total was 21,000 (and they're planning a reunion). The CBC ran a year-end round-up today of the Canadian year and this was mentioned with some pride. The reason there may be a discrepancy in the numbers is because Asian flights were diverted to western Canada (story of 13 September). A related story from September 12, in the Washington Post.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:12 PM on December 31, 2001

I live on the west coast of Vancouver Island. No story about Newfoundlanders' generosity would surprise me. What wonderful people...
posted by at 7:22 PM on December 31, 2001

this aerial photo of gander, and the rest in the series, have stuck with me for some time.
posted by heather at 7:31 PM on December 31, 2001

whoops... make that halifax.
posted by heather at 7:32 PM on December 31, 2001

I heard the story on NPR today, too, and it was great. I especially liked the guy who grew up with his mom telling him never to take candy from strangers, and here he was letting himself get befriended (along with a half dozen other passengers) by a woman who saw him wandering around on the streets one morning and just took him in.

Ya gotta love small towns that roll out the red carpet for strangers like this.
posted by diddlegnome at 7:46 PM on December 31, 2001

As some Canadians will know, thousands of Irish trying to escape the famine (an gorta mór) died in the utmost misery and suffering of cholera on Grosse Ille in Canada, unfortunately spreading the disease to the surrounding districts and leading to many thousands of more deaths. Irish people are still grateful to the heroic doctor George Mellis Douglas who gave everything in his hands to save as many people as he could and later committed suicide after the experience he had been through. I know this is not strictly on topic but I'd just like Canadian people to know that Irish people also know that you helped us in our hour of need.
posted by Zootoon at 7:54 PM on December 31, 2001

It's high time that Gander's historic contribution to aviation be remembered.

"Aviation in Newfoundland and Labrador: The development of Gander airport originated from a 1935 agreement between Canada, the United Kingdom, the Irish Free State, and Newfoundland...Construction of airport facilities at Gander--or Newfoundland Airport as it was then called--began in 1936. Three years later the airfield had four paved runways and was the largest airport in the world...Gander's location on the great circle route made it an ideal wartime refueling and maintenance depot for bombers en route 1945 Gander had serviced thousands of transient aircraft from the Royal Air Force Ferry Command and the United States Air Transport Command...After war's end...Gander's location on the New York to London air route continued to make it a vital refueling and maintenance terminal for east- and westbound traffic. By 1950, with upward of one thousand passengers passing through daily and eight international airlines using its facilities, Gander was affectionately termed "Crossroads of the World."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:22 AM on January 1, 2002

This reminds me of another sad day in our history where the people of Gander showed their kindness and compassion. On December 12,1985 a military chartered Arrow Air DC-8 left from Gander, Newfoundland to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Upon leaving the Gander airfield, the plane crashed killing all 256 people aboard. Two hundred forty-eight members of the 101st Airborne Division and eight crewmembers died. There are memorials in Ft. Campbell, KY and in the city of Gander for them.
As a former member of 101st Airborne I would like to thank Gander for all they have done.
posted by fenrir at 7:23 AM on January 1, 2002

The December 7th edition of This American Life had a story of "Newfie" humanity and generousity that has me all blubbering just thinking about it.

"During World War II, a black sailor from the U.S. washed up nearly dead onshore in Newfoundland, and the white nurses -- never having seen a black man -- thought he was covered in oil and tried to scrub him clean. The sailor said that sort of treatment was a lot nicer than what he'd been used to at the hands of whites down south. Brookes tells the incredible story of the sailor, Lanier Phillips, and how his experience in Newfoundland changed his life."

There's a real audio version of the show here (December 7 "Them") -- truly it was one of the most moving and inspiring things I heard all year.
posted by kittyb at 8:57 AM on January 1, 2002

Yesterday's Gander story is available. {real audio}
posted by dhartung at 2:58 PM on January 1, 2002

heather, that Halifax airport photo gallery wasn't in the September 11 Web Archive, so I made sure to contribute it. You can still (so far as I know) add things to that site either by going to the front page or by adding the javascript button to your browser toolbar. (I'd post it directly but MeFi is filtering javascript now.) I still find things like this that should be in there, but aren't.
posted by dhartung at 3:05 PM on January 1, 2002

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