Today is a day of remembrance of a horrific act by terrorists on the United States some twenty years ago. When we remember this day, it’s almost always filled with images of the twin towers on fire – people jumping from windows – amazing acts of heroism – loss of life and the affect it had on Americans along with the rest of the world.
Last night I watched a documentary , narrated by Tom Brokaw entitled, “Operation Yellow Ribbon.” It is well worth watching, because it shows the truth of the human spirit and what can happen in times of great tragedy. Did you ever wonder how they cleared the skies leading to America and countries close to it on this fateful day? It was an amazing accomplishment. One of the airports used for this purpose was in a tiny little town of Gander, Newfoundland. The International Airport in the northeast part of North America was considered the largest airport in the world when it was built and was used mainly for military flights and a refueling site during WWII. On 09.11.2001, this airport was used to assist in clearing the skies of planes that were intended to land in the US or coming to it.
The Canadian airport at Gander is home to less than 12,000 people, who became willing heroes to the people on the 38 planes that had been redirected to land there. There were 7,000 passengers and crew that needed a place to stay until their flights could resume. None of them knew what was going on in New York, other than the fact that there was a terrorist attack. Imagine being in a strange country under such circumstances. The people of Gander came to the rescue with makeshift lodging, meals and clothing for the confused. tired and uninformed crowd. Soon they would see footage of the attack on the World Trade Center and watch in disbelief as the story unfolded before their eyes.
In the documentary, we see the human spirit at work for the fellow man. It talks about a couple returning from Ireland whose son is a New York fireman. They would have to wait until they returned home to discover that he perished as a first responder to the attack. There was a story of a couple that met during this time, from two different parts of the world, fell in love and eventually married. There were many, many more stories that occurred during this time and each one of them attached a piece of the heart to it.
Even in the tragedy of that horrific day, we saw the good side of humanity. We will never forget the carnage, but we should never, ever forget the goodness that came from that day. Even though it doesn’t seem any good could come from such an event, God planted people within the mess who cared about other people. Their kindness and self-sacrifice should be imprinted in our minds forever. Without those attributes we would be nothing. Thank God for allowing His love to surface even in times of crisis.