People in the Newfoundland and also Labrador city that restored faith in humanity, complying with the terrorist assaults on Sept. 11, 2001, space filled v both pride and sorrow two decades later.

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Gary Tuff, who was the emergency coordinator in ~ the Gander global Airport at the moment of the 9/11 attacks, recalled the chaos together planes to be diverted to Newfoundland. Ross mr / an international News

In all, 38 planes landed in Gander, with nearly 7,000 bewildered passengers. The quiet city was residence to simply 10,000 citizens to start with.


School bus drivers who’d been on strike drive the so-called “plane people” to school gymnasiums the were converted right into makeshift many hotels … Gander’s hockey arena ended up being a warehouse because that stacks the food and drinks, and, the laid-back charm the the town and surrounding neighborhoods soon put their distraught guests at ease.


Bill Hooper to be the market of Lewisporte, close to Gander, in ~ the time.

“One man said come me, he claimed ‘where can you go in the world, sit top top the actions of a church, right throughout from the police station, and also drink a bottle of wine?"”


It’s not just that Gander accepted their surprised guests. It’s how people there taken on them, and also how deeply they considered their needs.

“This is the room where Libby stayed when she was through us,” states author and artist Dawn Baker, who organized a 17-year-old Israeli woman named Libby.

“The preventive room was spick and also span, the sheets were, together I’ve said numerous times before, dried top top the line, ’cause girlfriend sleep a lot far better when they’re dried ~ above the line.”

The story’s recognized now, around the world, thanks to Come from Away. First, a hit on Broadway, then beyond. Now, there’s even talk of a Hollywood movie version.


In Gander, irreversible reminders include a chunk of steel from the human being Trade Centre, and, over there are more fragile mementos: Post-it notes, at the airport’s emergency centre, listing trip numbers. The notes room still top top the wall, two decades later. There are no to plan to remove them.


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Post-it notes inserted on the wall of the Gander worldwide Airport in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks are tho there, two decades later. Ross lord / worldwide News

Gander market Percy Farwell admits that doesn’t take lot for the pride, and the sorrow, come return.


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Percy Farwell, market of Gander, N.L., stands beside a chunk of steel from the world Trade Centre, a long-term reminder of the terrorist assaults of 9/11. Ross mr / worldwide News

“The instance in Afghanistan is absolutely something that transforms the world’s fist to the again and also stirs increase a lot of emotions again,” Farwell said.


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Pandemic restrictions have prevented part “plane people” from returning this year, to show their gratitude.

For repeat visitors favor Shirley Brooks-Jones of Ohio, this visit is different. Brooks-Jones initiated a high institution scholarship as a way to speak “thank you” to Newfoundlanders. Thousands of students in Lewisporte have actually qualified for the trip 15 Scholarship.

Brooks-Jones claims she’s excited to view Hooper again, along with his wife, Thelma. The pair considers she a close friend, back this visit includes crucial concession come COVID-19.


“I’ve currently told her the we’re not enabled to hug, or also shake hands,” claimed Thelma Hooper.

For Brooks-Jones, it’s hard to organize back.


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A once-stranded trip passenger, Shirley Brooks-Jones native Ohio, returned to Gander to mark the 20th anniversary that 9/11. Ross lord / global News

“Eventually, I’m going to touch your eight or your face or her or something else. However hug, that’s something, girlfriend know, if things are an excellent or negative or whatever, hugs and not being able come hug, it just about kills you.”

But, fond memory from two decades ago are immune to viruses, prefer the streams the Gander vehicle drivers pulling end to offer their travellers a ride, as they were the end for a walk.

“Gander created the very first ride-sharing,” recalls Kevin Tuerff that Austin, Texas, laughing during a Zoom interview. “The first Uber was happening in 2001. Trouble is they simply didn’t fee for it.”


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3:50How America is preparing to mark two decades since 9/11
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