The musical “Come From Away” is playing in Denver and elsewhere.
It’s the story of 9,000 townspeople in Gander, Newfoundland who welcomed 6,700 unexpected guests on September 11, 2001.
When terrorism struck the airways, all U.S. air traffic stopped.
Planes en route to the states had to go somewhere, and 38 of them landed in Gander, a town with 550 hotel rooms.
The play celebrates human decency in the face of calamity.
Last year retiring Gander mayor, Claude Elliott, spoke with USA Today reporter, Katherine Lackey:
“What we consider the most simple thing in life is to help people.
“You’re not supposed to look at people’s color, their religion, their sexual orientation — you look at them as people.
“One thing this world is lacking today is common sense.
“You’re not supposed to look at people’s color, their religion, their sexual orientation — you look at them as people.”
“We have to set more of an example and show the world we can all live in harmony regardless of what we are,” the mayor said.
The Graciousness of Gander
“Come From Away” amplifies what Gander showed the world.
And in recent years churches in Gander raised enough money to bring five Syrian families to Gander.
“One thing this world is lacking today is common sense,”
They saw a need and responded.
Yet those not from the island will always be considered “come from aways.”
And, in truth, aren’t we all?
The story’s creators, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, said they “found hope in a story about human kindness.”
It’s clear throughout, and by the end joy pulsates.
A final scene depicts the reunion in Gander 10 years after the planes landed.
A Newfoundlander says, “On the northeast tip of North America, on an island called Newfoundland, there’s an airport – and next to it, is a town called Gander.
“Tonight, we honor what was lost. But we also commemorate what we found!”