Saturday, February 27, 2010

Gander and Tom Brokaw

Does anyone else remember back in the 70s when there was absolutely nothing on television on Saturday afternoons except for ABC's Wide World of Sports?

"The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat"

No wonder we spent all day outside. This afternoon felt a little like 1973 except I went back and forth between being 8 years old and being my mom, who was on the couch trying to take a nap and probably not listening to the downhill slalom or whatever else they did on that show.

The morning started early today with a sick cat at 0300 and a road trip to Pella (come back on Thursday for Nature Notes!) that included a walk in snow. When I got home this afternoon, I wanted a nap and I fell asleep pretty easily. After I woke up, I turned on the television and got real lazy real fast except there was nothing on television to aid in the laziness.

So I settled for the Olympics.

Only the Olympics weren't on. I was watching a Tom Brokaw thing about Gander, Newfoundland and all the planes that were routed there on September 11.

What a painful and emotional day that was. I am so glad I didn't miss this show today because as Brokaw said afterward, due to the confusion and attention on New York, there was very little coverage about how Gander, population 10,000, handled 7,000 unexpected visitors. It was great and if you can watch it on NBC or online, I highly recommend it. Who could have predicted that this huge airport, so useful in WWII and no longer used to its full capacity, would become so important so suddenly?

As difficult as it is to watch anything that has to do with 9/11, the two spots that made me cry in little heartrending sobs were first when the captain of one plane lied to the passengers and said they had a minor mechanical problem and were routing into Canada. Once they were on the ground, he told them there was a national emergency in the United States and no planes could fly in.

I can't imagine what must have gone through their minds. A national emergency so drastic, so unthinkable that they turned away all these planes, all these people, all of their own citizens?

What could be so bad that our own country didn't want us to come home?

This show is deeply sad at times as well as uplifting and joyful. The second time I cried was when the planes were finally able to land in the U.S. and the ground crews held up signs saying "Welcome Back," our flag was draped over the control tower and the airport was filled with people. My emotions were hit by the joyful reception of our own people coming home to their own country.

Yep, I'm a patriotic girl and I love the United States. I hope it shows.


Dr. Derek Lamar said...

Thanks for telling everyone about the Gander program. It was quite good. Sad, heartwarming and hopeful. I snuck into my office in the next room to sneak a peak at Kevin O'Rourke's status... hoping he made it... but he didn't. 343 firemen died that day. Shocking, amazing, mystifying. I know we try and paint a picture, a pretty one full of hope and in the end it is true... they died for what they chose to do... help other people. Still sad. Life is ongoing and no one ever really dies, I know this. But the humanity of death and sadness always brings sorrow and tears to our eyes. But we'll make it... all of us in our own way... it does always work out no matter how sad and seemingly senseless it is. The Truth is that life is about meaning and it is the destiny of each of us to seek that out. Thanks again, Derek Lamar

Caron said...

It was everything you mentioned. It does always work out in the end, you just have to be at the end to look back at it.

I learned from a co-worker 20-some years ago: It works out in the end, so if it hasn't worked out, it isn't the end.

Rambling Woods said...

I did see that and was glad I did and it was freaky that I happened to tune it to it at all....Michelle

Rose said...

I get teared up just reading your take on the the show...I will never forget I was picking Jonathan apples the day it happened...I could not really take it in.

for days we did not see a single plane in the sky...I will never forget that either.

MyMaracas said...

I didn't catch the show, but I do remember the coverage at the time about the kindness of the Gander citizens. I hope they know we have not forgotten.