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Old 09-11-2002, 09:12 PM   #1
craigp
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In light of anniversary of the attacks on the U.S., I was reluctant to watch much TV last night and today. But I watched last night anyway, and there-- on PBS was a documentary about what happened to the flights bound for northeastern US airports when US airspace was shut down. Hundreds of planes carrying thousands of passengers were re-routed to airports in Canada. The people in towns near these airports opened their local schools, fire houses and churches as temporary shelters, and their hearts as wellsprings of hope and compassion. 7,000 passengers doubled the population of one town for the four days they were there. There are so many wonderful tales of that time, and I can't relay them here. The reason I'm posting this info is because I know there are Canadians that post here, and I needed to let somebody up there know that for all the talk of cold temperatures, a lot of us in the States know that only applies to the weather. So, on behalf of your fellow countrymen, please accept this thank you offered on behalf of mine. And to the rest of you, thanks for putting up with what seems to be a non-Lightfoot post. But then again, in a way it is for Gord embodies the human spirit in song, and Canada's people embody the human heart in deed. Wish I could hug one of you. Thanks for reading.

Brian
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Old 09-11-2002, 09:12 PM   #2
Brian 57
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In light of anniversary of the attacks on the U.S., I was reluctant to watch much TV last night and today. But I watched last night anyway, and there-- on PBS was a documentary about what happened to the flights bound for northeastern US airports when US airspace was shut down. Hundreds of planes carrying thousands of passengers were re-routed to airports in Canada. The people in towns near these airports opened their local schools, fire houses and churches as temporary shelters, and their hearts as wellsprings of hope and compassion. 7,000 passengers doubled the population of one town for the four days they were there. There are so many wonderful tales of that time, and I can't relay them here. The reason I'm posting this info is because I know there are Canadians that post here, and I needed to let somebody up there know that for all the talk of cold temperatures, a lot of us in the States know that only applies to the weather. So, on behalf of your fellow countrymen, please accept this thank you offered on behalf of mine. And to the rest of you, thanks for putting up with what seems to be a non-Lightfoot post. But then again, in a way it is for Gord embodies the human spirit in song, and Canada's people embody the human heart in deed. Wish I could hug one of you. Thanks for reading.

Brian
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Old 09-12-2002, 07:19 AM   #3
char
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Brian - I'll take that hug!
Char
Whitby, Ontario
or as Gord says -On-tair-eye-oh
{{{Brian}}}
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Old 09-12-2002, 10:44 AM   #4
james hill
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Brian,

Thank you for those very kind words. Seeing the replay of the 2 jets hitting the towers re-kindled the feelings of anger & sadness. please be aware that we here in Canada are always with all of you in thought & prayer & hope that someday, those horrible wrongs will be righted; & you are right about Gord. So much of his music is timeless & universal. Give a listen to "Heaven Help the Devil" from SHADOWS. that song is 20 yrs. old & still rings true today .

Take care,
james

"...most of us don't wish to cause each other pain." GL 1982
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Old 09-12-2002, 10:58 AM   #5
char
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Thanks for the lovely sentiments!
I'll take the hug as a rep of the Canadians who were so helpful last year.LOL
this is from today's Toronto Star:
'Plane people' recall kindness of strangers
Gander opened heart to stranded passengers

GANDER, Nfld. — Most of the 6,500 airline passengers who landed in Gander last Sept. 11 had never heard of it. Now, it's a place few of them will ever forget.

Diane Blodgett, 57, a self-employed software developer from Perkasie, Pa., outside Philadelphia, remembers the compassion of strangers.

"They'd put their arms around me and say it's going to be okay," she said, still moved to tears on a return visit. "And it's never going to be the same, but it's going to be okay."

One year ago yesterday, 38 jets were diverted to Gander after U.S. airspace was closed amid the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Yesterday, many of the people those jets carried came back to remember — and praise Canadians for helping them.

For 60-year-old Samuel Beecorf, of Continental Flight 5, the return to Newfoundland to see his hosts Jim and Joanne Lane in Gambo is a joyous one. The town 35 kilometres east of Gander made the Nigerian hotel owner its first honorary citizen this week.

Beecorf said he had to come back to say thank you. He, too, cries as he tells of the 6-year-old Gambo boy who asked last year if he could help the elderly black man.

"That was too much for me, I couldn't carry that," he said. "The world is so difficult, you don't know what to expect. When you get such kindness on such short notice without any warning and everybody looks after you, it is beautiful. Tell the world."

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien came to Gander for a simple official ceremony of remembrance yesterday, one year after the "plane people" arrived.

"It has been said that in Newfoundland and Labrador there are no strangers, just friends you haven't met yet," Chrétien said.

He unveiled a plaque to pay tribute to the hundreds of Canadians who sprang into action as the rest of the world sat immobilized by shock and distance from the attacks on the United States.

In all, 17 Canadian airport towns and cities took in 33,863 stranded fliers.

But Chrétien acknowledged the strain on small-town resources — Gander's population of 9,600 nearly doubled in three hours — and the extraordinary hospitality of individuals, organizations and communities here that struck a special chord with flight crews and passengers alike.

"You did yourselves proud. And you did Canada proud," he said.

Chrétien, U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci, Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes and other dignitaries watched as a video produced by three Lufthansa pilots paid musical tribute to their hosts of last year. Some of the 3,000 local residents who attended wiped away tears as they watched.

It had been a massive volunteer effort that made headlines around the world, and forged the kinds of intense, long-lasting friendships that arise from crises.

Trevor and Susan Tetford, teachers from Lewisporte, about 50 kilometres west of Gander, offered two couples with young babies a quiet place to bathe their children, then persuaded them to stay in their home, not at the church. "You'll all get more rest," the Tetfords told the amazed New Yorkers.

The Tetfords regarded it as a privilege. "We were one of the few families that had an opportunity to have people stay with us," said Trevor, who led a commemorative tree-planting of a weeping birch in Lewisporte yesterday.

A bond formed between the three families, and in February the Tetfords travelled to New York City to see their new friends. At Ground Zero, they wept.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


To this day, the "plane people" marvel at the welcome they received.

"We thought, well, good Lord, we're basically going to be in tents and eating bags of peanuts and that kind of thing," said Northwest Airlines Captain Dann Runik, speaking from Florida.

"I had prepared my passengers to ration their food and their water. For the people of that locale to empty their pantries and open their homes ... just took everyone by surprise."

One elderly Jewish couple on Runik's Amsterdam-New York flight was shaken and frightened by his urgings to co-operate with Canadian authorities and the sight of armed guards at the base of the plane stairs to escort them to buses.

Tears in his eyes, the old man turned to Runik and said: "I know you didn't mean it the way it sounded, young man, but those words were just what they said to us on the bullhorns when we got off at Auschwitz."

Days later, the couple beamed like children as they boarded their return flight home, he recalls.

Several of the stranded fliers returned this week to reunite with Newfoundland friends to mark the anniversary.

Among them, a Texas woman and British man who fell in love during their stay in Gambo. The couple got married in the United States on Saturday, and came here for their honeymoon. Their Gambo friends gently declined to introduce them to reporters, to protect their privacy.

There was Continental Airlines pilot Nick Dobi and his flight engineer Walt Loflin, both forced to retire after their return to the United States from Gander. The troubled airline cut its DC-10 fleet.

"That's where my whole career ended," said Dobi. "I feel like my life is intertwined now with Newfoundland and I'm going to come up every year. It's not a catharsis. It's a reaffirmation of the good in the world."

Much of the world has already heard the tales:

The striking school bus drivers who walked off the picket line to chauffeur planeload after planeload of passengers to shelters in five communities.

The airport Mountie, Corporal Grant Smith, who changed into his "red serge" because it was a familiar Canadian symbol for disoriented passengers.

The stores like Wal-Mart that supplied thousands of dollars worth of new underwear, toothpaste, hairbrushes and shampoo.

The doctors and nurses who cancelled appointments, set up clinics where passengers could get prescriptions refilled, and the pharmacists who filled them for free.

The telephone and cable companies that hooked up extra phones and free Internet service.

The schools, churches, community centres and fire halls that housed thousands. The local bakeries that stayed open round-the-clock.

Even the air traffic controllers mobilized to cook massive quantities of chili and bacon and eggs for the stranded passengers in the days that followed, when no planes flew.

"We went from almost madness, with airplanes coming at you like flies, to cooking up a storm," said controller Don O'Brien. "We had no airplanes, so we did food instead."

Shirley Brooks-Jones of Columbus, Ohio, ended up in Lewisporte, along with more than 770 passengers from four different flights.

The sight of the Canadian, Newfoundland and Lewisporte flags, and a handful of U.S. flags, flying at half-mast stunned her.

"It was hard for me to keep my composure," she said in an interview.

Yesterday, under gray skies, the flags in Lewisporte flew at half-mast again, and Brooks-Jones was back.

Along with two other women, she had been taken in by Lewisporte Mayor Bill Hooper and his wife, Thelma, and has become their dear friend. Hooper, like most residents here, marvels that the foreigners could have expected anything different.

"When those people came in town they were frightened; they didn't know where they were. They were so thankful that they were safe and well taken care of, and somebody was there they could rely on. We were glad to be able to provide a service, I guess."

Hooper and others insist they did nothing extraordinary. But Brooks-Jones, a retired university administrator, wonders if such an outpouring of sympathy and generosity "would have happened in my country."

En route back to the United States, Brooks-Jones and fellow Delta passenger Dr. Robert Ferguson, a Canadian now working in North Carolina, initiated a scholarship fund for high school students in Lewisporte. They had $15,000 pledged by the time they landed, and fundraising for the $50,000 endowed fund has now become her passion

"They expected us to act like we didn't care, I suppose, that life would go on," said Jean Blackwood of Gambo. "But our lives stopped. Everyone wanted to grieve with them."

Blackwood, a town clerk, turned over her home to six people and gave a British couple who'd been travelling to New York to celebrate their 25th anniversary the keys to her cabin on a lake. Still, she said, there was little time for grief. "We had all those homeless people on our hands."

Today, she expresses a common feeling: "I think it enriched the people of Gambo in a lot of ways. People stayed in contact, and it brought us a lot closer."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The thanks are still rolling in.

Nearly a dozen Internet Web sites sing the praises of the people of Gander and nearby towns that took people in. There are accolades for Stephenville, Goose Bay and St. John's, where hundreds more were stranded.

Gordon Conway, head of the Rockefeller Foundation of New York, donated an $85,000 computer lab to Lewisporte Middle School and another $15,000 to the local Pentecostal church for the kindness shown to him and foundation staffers who were among the stranded. The cash was used to sponsor 12 foster kids abroad.

Students from Gander Academy are flying next month to London compliments of Virgin Airways, said Mayor Claude Elliott. The town has received e-mails, books, quilts, even boxes of citrus fruit from Florida.

"To be symbolic of the compassionate deeds of all Canadians performed during Sept. 11th, this is the greatest honour that could have been bestowed upon us," Elliott said.

you can also check : http://www.rb.nf.ca/beacon/
probably tomorrow for the local take on the events in Gander.

Char


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Old 09-12-2002, 12:48 PM   #6
Lee
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Good idea Brian!....here's mine:

((((BIG, HUGE, POLAR BEAR, KODIAK BEAR, GRIZZLY BEAR, BLACK BEAR, CYBER-HUGS TO CANADA...I TOAST A COLD "BLUE" TO YOU!!!))))

------------------
"Mathematics is well & good but, Nature keeps dragging us around by the nose."
Albert Einstein
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Old 09-12-2002, 12:48 PM   #7
ColoradoSue
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Good idea Brian!....here's mine:

((((BIG, HUGE, POLAR BEAR, KODIAK BEAR, GRIZZLY BEAR, BLACK BEAR, CYBER-HUGS TO CANADA...I TOAST A COLD "BLUE" TO YOU!!!))))

------------------
"Mathematics is well & good but, Nature keeps dragging us around by the nose."
Albert Einstein
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Old 09-12-2002, 04:16 PM   #8
SilverHeels
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As I said on Sept 11, 2001.
'Today we are all Americans'.

(If I have to hug a Canadian may I choose
Gord? Char - I can always hug you! LOL)
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Old 09-12-2002, 05:38 PM   #9
Paul J B
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I agree Brian!

I love to go to Canada every chance I get, Canadiens are the Sweetest,Kindest. friendlest people you'd ever want to meet! Its no surprise they opened their hearts and homes to all effected on 9/11...

From one grateful American I say to ALL Canadiens LOTS'O HUGS!!!!and a big THANK YOU!!!! And I can't wait to return to your Beautiful Country..

Chuck.



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Ever Onward...
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Old 09-12-2002, 05:38 PM   #10
Chuck Darling
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I agree Brian!

I love to go to Canada every chance I get, Canadiens are the Sweetest,Kindest. friendlest people you'd ever want to meet! Its no surprise they opened their hearts and homes to all effected on 9/11...

From one grateful American I say to ALL Canadiens LOTS'O HUGS!!!!and a big THANK YOU!!!! And I can't wait to return to your Beautiful Country..

Chuck.



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Ever Onward...
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