A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT THAT TERRIBLE DAY.... 911

Posted on: Oct 08, 2013 at 11:52
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THIS IS A MUST READ. FANTASTIC AND INSPIRATIONAL.
 
It is almost 11 yrs since 9/11 and here is a wonderful story about that 
   terrible day.
  
Jerry Brown Delta Flight 15... (true story)
  
   Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, 
   written following 9-11:  
  
   On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of 
   Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic . 
  
   All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the 
   cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I 
   noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The 
   captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in 
   Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United 
   States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest 
   airport. Advise your destination."  
  
   No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious 
   situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain 
   determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander , 
   New Foundland.  
  
   He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic 
   controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked. 
   We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving 
   our request.  
  
   While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another 
   message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity 
   in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the 
   hijackings.  
  
   We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We 
   told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed 
   to land at the nearest airport in Gander , New Foundland, to have it 
   checked out.  
  
   We promised to give more information after landing in Gander . There was 
   much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new! Forty 
   minutes later, we landed in Gander . Local time at Gander was 
   12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST.  
  
   There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over 
   the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.  
  
   After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following 
   announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these 
   airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The 
   reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to 
   explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There 
   were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed 
   passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.  
  
   The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was 
   allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to 
   come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around 
   periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next 
   hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes 
   from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.  
  
   Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and 
   for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World 
   Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were 
   trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a 
   different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only 
   able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines 
   to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.  
  
   Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade 
   Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted 
   in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically 
   exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly 
   calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded 
   aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.  
  
   We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the 
   planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our 
   turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not 
   happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much 
   noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the 
   airplane.  
  
   Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and 
   lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we 
   had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who 
   was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The 
   night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping 
   arrangements.  
  
   About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed 
   up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went 
   through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red 
   Cross.  
  
   After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were 
   taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers 
   were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a 
   population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to 
   take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander ! We 
   were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the 
   U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.  
  
   We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting 
   to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.  
  
   Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people 
   of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane 
   people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and 
   ended up having a pretty good time.  
  
   Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander 
   airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and 
   found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found 
   out was incredible.  
  
   Gander and all the surrounding communities (within MATCH about a 75 
   Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, 
   and any other large gathering places. They converted all these 
   facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some 
   had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.  
  
   ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to 
   take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called 
   Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a 
   high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that 
   was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers 
   were taken to private homes.  
  
   Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home 
   right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was 
   a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the 
   crowd for the duration.  
  
   Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available 
   to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered 
   "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and 
   harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries 
   stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.  
  
   Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. 
   People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful 
   meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their 
   clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every 
   single need was met for those stranded travelers.  
  
   Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when 
   they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to 
   the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or 
   late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts 
   of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on 
   and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything 
   beautifully.  
  
   It was absolutely incredible.  
  
   When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. 
   Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their 
   stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight 
   back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just 
   stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.  
  
   Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their 
   first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.  
  
   And then a very unusual thing happened.  
  
   One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an 
   announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this 
   time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He 
   picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone 
   through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they 
   had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying 
   that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of 
   Lewisporte.  
  
   "He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 
   (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide 
   college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He 
   asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the 
   paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone 
   numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!  
  
   "The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and 
   to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that 
   he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to 
   donate as well.  
  
   As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million 
   and has assisted 134 students in college education.  
  
   "I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right 
   now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a 
   faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on 
   them.  
  
   It reminds me how much good there is in the world."  
  
   "In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in todays world 
   this story confirms that there are still a lot of good and Godly people 
   in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.  
  
   "God Bless America ... and God Bless the Canadians."
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