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THE FILM

You Are Here: A Come From Away Story

September 11, 2001. Images of that day are forever etched into our collective consciousness. It was a day of shock and terror, the effects of which linger within our minds. And yet on that same day, on an island about 3,000 kilometers from Manhattan, in the middle of the Atlantic, the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, gave voice to all that is good and generous within humanity.

9/11 twin towers with Empire State in foreground
You Are Here Gander Map
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THE FACTS

"6,500 people showed up in a town of 9,000 and stayed for five days."

                                     - Diane Davis, Ganderite

Our story began when U.S. airspace was completely shut down in the hours immediately following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. All civilian airliners within reach of the United States were ordered to land at the nearest airport. Thirty-eight of those planes landed at the Gander airport in Newfoundland & Labrador , Canada. 

With no warning and with no time to prepare, Gander, a city with a population of only 9,000, realized that 6,500 passengers would soon have to come off the grounded planes. The people of Gander and surrounding communities across the province of Newfoundland & Labrador quickly started gathering everything they could to prepare and welcome their unexpected guests.

Gander and the surrounding communities played host for five long days to 6,500 frightened, exhausted and hungry passengers from around the world, housing them in their homes, schools and churches.

This remarkable story was largely a footnote in the aftermath of 9/11 but has now been brought to life in the most unexpected way possible: a live stage musical, titled “Come From Away.” The show became one of the most talked about openings in the recent history of Broadway and generated a great deal of discussion about the need for compassion and unity in the midst of one of the most divisive periods in socio-political history.

38 planes Gallery...

38 Planes Landing in Gander
38 Planes Landing in Gander

855am 9/11/01 , the FAA closes down U.S. airspace. 255 aircraft en route to the US were diverted to 17 different airports across Canada. Gander receiving 38 of them.

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6,500 Guests arriving
6,500 Guests arriving

The residence of Gander drive out to the airport to watch all the planes landing in their quite small town on 9/11.

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Still waiting...
Still waiting...

Most passengers were on stuck on their planes for over 48hours, while authorities were trying to figure out what to do with 6,500 people.

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38 Planes Landing in Gander
38 Planes Landing in Gander

855am 9/11/01 , the FAA closes down U.S. airspace. 255 aircraft en route to the US were diverted to 17 different airports across Canada. Gander receiving 38 of them.

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Gander prepares Gallery...

A Call to Arms
A Call to Arms

Newfoundlanders from coast to coast start sending donations to Gander to help out with their 6,500 guests.

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Supplies being organized
Supplies being organized

Supplies start to flow in by the 'ton load' and are organized and sent out to shelters being set up across the town of Gander.

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First images of 9/11
First images of 9/11

Stranded passengers seeing footage of 9/11 for the first time approximately 48 hours after the world saw it at their shelter in the College of the North Atlantic.

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A Call to Arms
A Call to Arms

Newfoundlanders from coast to coast start sending donations to Gander to help out with their 6,500 guests.

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THE MISSION

To spread the spirit of kindness

You Are Here: A Come From Away Story  goes beyond the stories dramatized in the musical to reveal how an isolated community with a particularly unique culture and character connected with the world at large by reaching out to people with extraordinary kindness at a time of great need.

 

The characters portrayed in the the musical - the mayors of Gander and Appleton, a local cop, two community workers, an SPCA worker, and two local TV reporters - were real people who worked tirelessly alongside countless others to comfort and care for their unexpected guests.

The passengers or 'come from aways'  whose lives were changed forever, included a couple, who in a period of stress and anxiety met, fell in love, and married, the pilot of an American Airlines Boeing 777, whose life was turned upside down, and a businessman who was so touched by his hosts’ generosity that he went on to create good samaritan initiatives in cities across the USA.  

Those same efforts resonated with people far from Gander, especially the families of the helpers and first responders who died while helping others on 9/11. In so doing, the film celebrates the generosity and compassion of Newfoundlanders, all that it has inspired and the legacy it has created.

5 days in Gander Gallery...

Passengers socializing
Passengers socializing

Stranded passengers or Come from Aways hanging out in front of the Gander Academy Shelter.

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Calling Home
Calling Home

FREE phones and internet lines were setup in all the shelters so passengers could call their loved ones.

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Last Plane in Gander
Last Plane in Gander

The airport crew, passengers and plane crew pose for a photo in front of the last plane to leave gander Airport on September 16th 2001 (4pm)

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Passengers socializing
Passengers socializing

Stranded passengers or Come from Aways hanging out in front of the Gander Academy Shelter.

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The Legacy continues Gallery...

WTC Steel Beam
WTC Steel Beam

The only piece of steel from the World Trade Centre that resides outside the USA. Donated to the heros of Newfoundland for all they did during those 5 days surrounding 9/11.

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10th Anniversary
10th Anniversary

The 10th anniversary ceremony of 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland, brought many Come From Aways/'family' members back home. Nick and Diane Marson with their 9/11 hosts Jack Feltham, Amanda Feltham and Laurie Wicks.

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Canadian Screen Awards
Canadian Screen Awards

You Are Here: A Come From Away story has won many awards and honours including two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Documentary Program and Best Editing Documentary.

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WTC Steel Beam
WTC Steel Beam

The only piece of steel from the World Trade Centre that resides outside the USA. Donated to the heros of Newfoundland for all they did during those 5 days surrounding 9/11.

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