The Day the World Came to Town

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

The 8th grade curriculum at our middle school focuses on resilience, and older son's fascination with non-fiction accounts of folks with resilience is continuing.  He is currently reading Nine Months at Ground Zero. I stumbled across The Day The World Came to Town: 9/11 In Gander, Newfoundland by a random click in the library catalog the day I found Nine Months at Ground Zero.  


The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 In Gander, Newfoundland was an account of how the town of Gander, Newfoundland and surrounding communities responded to the passengers and crew of the 38 planes that diverted there once the US closed our airspace after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.   It's a almost unbelievable tale of the best of what it means to be human coming together to create good out of tragedy with more than 6,500 passengers and crew arriving in an area with only 10,000 residents.


Clearly told by journalist Jim Defede, The Day the World Came to Town was published only a year after the events it recounts (the library acquired the book on September 6, 2002).  The author did a good job of picking a handful interesting people to personalize the story, including Hugo Baldessarini, the chairman of Hugo Boss, and Hannah and Dennis O'Rourke, parents of a NYC firefighter.  As intended, I was also amazed by the kindness and generosity shown not only by individuals, such as all of the Gander school bus drivers who suspended their strike to transport the passengers to the temporary shelters, but also by businesses, including Canadian Tire, which not only authorized the donation of anything from their inventory, but also provided funds to purchase goods from other vendors.  


I'm sure the reality was messier than the story told in The Day The World Came to Town, but I recommend taking the time for this quick read if you enjoy non-fiction, and are interested in how 9/11 affected the world outside of New York and Washington DC.