Mel And Nancy trip to Maritime Provences travel blog

WW11 planes at Gander

Gander Airport 911

Gander Airport

info silent memorial

infront of silent memorial

A 230 mile drive to Cape Bonavista Newfoundland on the Bonavista Peninsula.

Our route took us through the town of Gander and it’s International Airport. We learned about “The day the World Came to Town”, Sept. 11, 2001. When the Twin Towers in New York were destroyed by terrorists in hijacked airplanes the US closed its’ airspace and hundreds of aircraft were stranded in the sky. If they entered US airspace they risked being shot down.

39 of these more than 300 aircraft that came to Canada diverted to Gander while another 47 went to Halifax. The nearly 6700 “people from away”, from 93 countries, became known in Gander as “The Plane People”. This small town of about 10,000 people and its’ neighbors with only 500 hotel rooms, sprang into action and cared for the Plane People, who had no luggage, for five days, providing food, shelter and all their basic needs. Many lasting friendships were formed.

Gander became an air refueling stop for transatlantic flights in the early days and grew to a major stop during prop plane days. Jet aircraft took the glory away when fuel stops became less necessary. Then a major and sudden expansion occurred when the US and Canadian militaries arrived at the beginning of WWII. Thousands of aircraft being ferried to the war effort in Europe stopped over.

We spent over an hour at the visitors’ center learning this history.

Our next stop in Gander was at the “Silent Witness Memorial” dedicated to the 256 American soldiers and crew who were killed in a air disaster on December 12, 1985.

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