Tom Brokaw’s Gander, Newfoundland 9/11 Lookback

Back here in the family room I was crying like a little baby. OK, I’m a soft touch for crying, but this real story is a real tear jerker.

On March 11, 2010 NBC announced this documentary would re-air. More details here.

Helaine and I were watching Olympics coverage this afternoon when Tom Brokaw was brought on to introduce a feature piece about Gander, Newfoundland’s part on September 11, 2001. I already knew much of the story. Helaine hadn’t heard any of it.
From Gander Airport’s website:

On September 11, 2001, 39 heavy aircraft were diverted to Gander International Airport when airspace was closed in the United States because of tragic terrorist hijackings. Runway 13/31 was converted to a temporary aircraft parking ramp. The airport terminal was turned into an aid centre as food and clothing was distributed to stranded passengers. The airport and its surrounding community afterwards received high praise for their response to the tragedy.

gander airport 9-11-01.jpgAll of a sudden Gander’s 10,000 residents had 7,000 guests¹!

The piece started slowly. At two minutes in it was obvious they’d buried the lede, until I realized this was no two or three minute piece. Brokaw and team had produced and NBC was showing a full length documentary!

It’s a shame to say if NBC had told its audience they were about to see a full length documentary they would have bailed in droves. They probably did anyway in which case they missed a truly wondrous story.

There are few superlatives to describe how kind and generous these Newfoundlanders² were. They opened their schools, homes, and wallets.

Back here in the family room I was crying like a little baby. OK, I’m a soft touch for crying, but this real story is a real tear jerker.

In the crush of news this 9/11 story was mainly lost. Without this Brokaw package it was destined to become more obscure. I was surprised at how many abandoned links I found while trying to find some interesting quotes for this entry.

Mostly the Twitteratti seem to agree with my assesment:

  • cukawen : Watching the brokaw special on #gander on 9-11-01…all I can say is wow.
  • porcupineridge : Great NBC/Tom Brokaw story on Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11 ground stop. Why can’t I find it online?
  • villageous : Just saw Tom Brokaw’s report on Gander, Newfoundland. Compassion people everywhere showed that day truly is lasting legacy of 9/11.
  • trs614xc : this tom brokaw segment about Gander, Newfoundland’s response to grounded flights on 9/11 is one of the most touching things i’ve ever seen
  • RoccoDeMaro : Tom Brokaw is a legend. But his never-ending, meandering piece on Gander / 9-11 felt like a trip to my wife’s grandmother’s house.

Thanks Rocco. There’s one in every crowd!

I agree with “porcupineridge.” Why can’t I find it online?

¹ – To say Gander is rural is an understatement! I landed there for refueliing on a westbound Overseas National Airways DC-8 transatlantic flight in the mid-70s. We flew in over a deep pine forest without seeing a sign of civilization. I figured we’d see the town on the way out, but again, nothing but pine trees until we were back over the Atlantic.

² – Originally this entry contained a less elegant nickname describing Newfoundlanders. Brian J. Mallard of Memorial University in St. John’s told me, “The majority of us do not like the term.”
My apologies to anyone offended. It was a poor attempt at showing affection.

87 thoughts on “Tom Brokaw’s Gander, Newfoundland 9/11 Lookback”

  1. I happened to have my kitchen TV on the Olympics while reading the paper. What caught my attention initially were the aerial shots of the Newfoundland coast at the lead of the piece. I remember thinking to myself that that the shots were stunning.
    I put the paper down to watch and see if the there were any more exquisite shots like the opening ones.
    What I ended up seeing was without a doubt the most riveting, extraordinary, and moving piece (more a mini-documentary, if you will) of reporting and storytelling that I have ever had the privilege- and trust me, it WAS a privilege- of watching. EVER.
    The piece told a powerful story in a verey light-handed way. The photography is of such a high quality that reminds us that photography is art, and that it doesn’t need special effects and bells and whistles to appreciate.Giving a world class photographer a camera is just like giving Van Gogh, or Renoir, a brush, and paints.
    But the technical part of this piece that is so subtle, and took all the elements together to create such an emotional, bittersweet ,draining (for me) and yes, ultimately uplifting piece of storytelling was the editing.
    All in all, an extraordinary piece of storytelling on every level, and as Tom Brokaw said, something that not enough Americans are aware of. My compliments to NBC and Brokaw, they have given us a jewel.Not to be missed if you have the chance.

  2. All I can say is Wow!! One of the best post 9/11 reports I’ve ever seen!! Just wanted to say thank you for making me aware of the generosity of the people of Gander. It made me cry to see the wonderfully beautiful side of humanity!!
    Thank you for the report!!!
    Rick Cruzen

  3. One of my very closest friends (and his family of 4) were one of those many people “stuck” in Gander. I can vouch for the fact that many of them have lasting relationships with the folks who helped them while stranded quite far from home. I missed this story on TV last today, but I know it well from first hand accounts.

  4. This was one of the most power documentaries I have ever seen. Wow! This shows how our fellow mankind can help others in a time of need. I was choked up several times. Very well done. I really hope NBC replays this documentary.

  5. I sincerely hope that someone be it NBC or someone else will post the compelling video report online on Gander Newfoundland so that everyone who might have missed the broadcast will have the opportunity to be as touched by the kindness and generousity of the people of Gander as I was.

  6. I was on workout equipment doing a 30 minute workout when I saw the Tom Brokaw’s story about the Gander citizens and their caring ways. I have just added a visit to Gander to my “Bucket List”. I want to meet these kind and caring people. Please show this informational documentary again. It was heartwarming and inspiring. Oh Yes my best workout ever.

  7. I have made it a point to watch many documentary type of productions over the years, and I work in the Washington DC area and have witnessed one of the most moving events which is the “Honor Flight” program that brings WW II vets to the nation’s Capitol to visit the memorial. But I would have to say that the NBC Gander, Newfoundland piece aired today is probably the finest ever. I was moved thru almost the entire hour. Hope they replay.

  8. We often criticize the media for digging up dirt to bolster ratings but this documentary on the good people of Gander Newfoundland was a testimony on how the media can be used in special ways. The NBC documentary on Gander 9/11 highlighted all that is good about humanity. How NBC told the story of how the people of Gander reached out and comforted close to 7000 travelers during a painful time in our history was deeply moving. It shows the special warmth that runs throughout an entire community. It shows how people dropped whatever they were doing to help strangers in a time of need. It shows how lifelong relationships are forged through adversity. It shows the good that people are capable of. I loved it.
    I urge NBC to make it available for ALL to see.

  9. If you really want to see a real tearjerker about the situation at Gander during 9/11, you should try to dig up the movie called DIVERTED produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
    I definitely recommend it for anyone with a beating heart.

  10. I heard about this segment from a friend of mine. I sure hope it will be available for viewing via the internet or that NBC will show it again (and promote it beforehand). I was on one of the planes that landed in Gander that day (DL 37) and after spending 32 hours on the plane, we were shuttled to Gambo via school bus (the drivers were on strike, but they returned to help out). The people of Gambo were incredible. Their hospitality and kindness will never be forgotten.

  11. How the hek can we get this video to watch again or to download. Usually these things get uploaded on youtube but I’ve not seen it, yet! If someone finds out let me know.

  12. thx for writing this. we too loved the piece and i did look for it this morning to FB it, to no avail. I emailed NBC about it (via their “contact us” link on website) so hopefully they’ll oblige and post it soon!

  13. It was an awesome piece that I just happened to catch while cleaning up in the kitchen yesterday and then couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. I also have been looking for a link but have not found a way to see it again.

  14. What a fantastic group of people! This is the type of story that should be filling our newscasts, or network airwaves, every day. not just during Olympics or Holidays. There are lots of them out there. This particular one is SPECTACULAR. A great example of how to treat people, regardless of nation, religion, race, etc. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone watched this….? Thank you Tom Brokaw and NBC. Thank You and WELL DONE, GANDER!

  15. What a wonderful tribute. Too bad we couldn’t hear a lot of the speaking due to all that background noise made by a piano. Why can’t you just tell a story with a voice and not all the noise drowning out the speaker? I can’t imagine why this trend got started. You’ve ruined Dateline and now you are ruining all your commercials. I can’t imagine why the advertisers are paying for such lousy ads that the consumers can’t hear above the piano notes playing so loud.

  16. I think NBC is a bit ashamed of how they snuck this in on us. This 45 minutes was the only time I didn’t ‘flip’ back to MSNBC during commercials. I didn’t want to miss anything. They should be proud of the fact that they provided the best winter olympics ever, and lost a bunch of money doing it. If they want to sell this Gander piece, how about today? This story needed to be seen 3 weeks ago if not 8 years ago. Sell it, or share it. Thanks

  17. Like many others, I was watching the Olympics while doing other things. Thankfully, something caught my attention right away and I was glued to Tom Browkaw’s documentary about Gander. I sincerely hope this will be made available for downloading or will be shown again, with prior advetising, so many others will have the opportunity to see what warm, caring people live in Gander. We need more stories about the “good” in humanity.

  18. I watched this documentary yesterday in amazement and cried!! Since then I have told EVERYONE I have come in contact about this and they too were surprised to never have heard of this story with the most gracious and loving folks and those few days where they changed the lives of over 7000 people. Please advertise and run this story again! It is a beautiful piece on the love and generosity displayed during a time when the USA was in crisis!! Thanks very much!!
    Martha G

  19. During a lull in my Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon and was riveted to this documentary. Tearful many times! When I described the story to my husband, I broke down several times. When I searched for a replay on NBC to show him, and fund nothing, I found this blog. I’m with the others who would like to see NBC replay this beautiful piece/tribute. Advance notice would be appreciated.

  20. Just felt i should at least leave a short note. I’m a Semi-professional athlete and to a fault things do not make me feel emotional much less cry. Seeing the Love and kindness our northern neighbors showed us in our darkest hour had tears streaming down my face. Thank you

  21. I too would love to download the story on Gander, Newfoundland not only for its human value but also because I visited Newfoundland last year and it is beautiful (at least in summer). Add the great people and it makes me wish to go back and see more of that Province.

  22. From the very first moment of this doc. it had me I could not leave the TV. Tom and his staff did a wonderful job on this story. I had no idea where all of those planes went!! I would really like for it to be aired again!!!So many people missed it. A round of applause for Tom on the best doc. I ever seen. Moved to tears!!!!

  23. After reading all the comments, I am so sorry I missed this Documentary. My sister saw it and told me it was the best thing she had seen on TV ever! If we ask NBC to replay it, and let us know when ahead of time, it would be wonderful.

  24. Those trees were actually fir n spruce sprinkled with birch, however good guess from your vantage point im sure. That was a beautiful documentary n i am proud watching it that im a newfoundlander.I like the rest of you would hope nbc releases this video so that i can show my grandparents who have been waiting to watch it since Tom Brokaw touched down in Gander back in the fall.

  25. During the viewing of the Winter Olympics yesterday I viewed Tom Brokaw and his story of the horror of 911 but in addition he also revealed a story unknown to me and that was the humanity and heroism of the folks of Gander, New Newfoundland.
    It was heartwarming and caused me to tear up especially when the O’Rouke husband and wife returned sometime later. They last a son who was a fireman in the horror of 911 but the warmth and kindness of all the local people totally brushed away the horrible memory of the tragedy and replaced it with the true meaning of kindness and sharing displayed by our friends to the north.

  26. What a terrific feature to have broadcast towards the end of the Winter Olympics! This feature personifies what the Olympics once were about – friendship,trust,open ones home to others from different countries. The community of Gander opening their community to people who had no knowledge of what had happened in New York City. I have had many tears shed during the Olympics but this one tops them all. As I saw the wide shots of the community of Gander I thought what a beautiful little community populated with beautiful people. As a teacher I have tried to teach my students about the importance of the Olympics, but if I can find the whole broadcast with Tom Brokaw it will be my number one priority to share with my students.
    Gander – you deserve a gold medal and so does Canada for providing a wonderful Olympics!

  27. Just like everyone else, I was very moved by this documentary piece. Difficult to keep a dry eye.
    My husband was also creating a post on his blog about it when I found the following link –
    I intentionally searched for the scholarship fund that was started to help give back to the selfless Newfoundlers. While I was watching it I was thinking, I hope that we are giving something back to these people, and was glad to see that we indeed were. I have every intention of also contributing my meager amount to that fund.
    I thought perhaps that some here might also be as moved as I was to want to do something.

  28. This was a very moving piece of journalism from a very good newsman. My wife & I watched this documentary together. All the memories from that very tragic day in our U.S. history came back to both of us. How we, and hundreds of thousands of Americans were glued to watching the events of this day of aggression against our country. This documentary fully shows the good of humanity. It would be nice to see more of these visuals of “random acts of kindness”, rather than videos of tragedy and acts of aggression against each other. Might it be possible for NBC to make available this video to I-tunes for people to download this documentary and all proceeds go to a worthy cause. Thanks

  29. I had been watching the Olympics every evening and the other night when Tom Brokaw’s piece came on I was glued to the TV. I had never heard this story and I was asking “why not”. This was a wonderful piece. I was crying by the end. Too bad more people didn’t know about it. I also would like to find a reprint and/or would like to see NBC do it again with prior notice, as I would like to get my family and friends to see it. I would imagine more US people would like to donate to the schlarship program if we had leads as to how.

  30. These are the Newfoundlanders I lived among from 1985 to 1989. These are humanitarians without conceit or second thought. I’m not at all surprised that this happened — again — in the same way earlier generations rescued and hosted shipwreck survivors or took in their neighbours when the weather got fierce. What I am surprised about is that old doofus Brokaw actually did a good piece on it, even though he can’t pronounce “Newfoundland.”

  31. I am friends with Captain Bev Bass an American Airlines pilot diverted to Gander that fateful day and featured in this documentary. When she told me last fall that NBC was coming to her house to interview her and I found out about this story, I could not wait to see it. NBC originally planed to air it before the closing ceremonies and moved it last minute to Saturday. Bev sent out a late breaking e-mail to those of us who had been waiting to watch. Needless to say having heard her stories and then watching this amazing story – I cried the entire time. It simply gave me chills to try and imagine what the people on these planes must have been experiencing and then see the loving generosity of the people of Gander. WOW.

  32. I couldn’t believe how compelling this story was. Why didn’t we know about this before? I was crying at the end. NBC MUST show this again, and we must be notified beforehand. It is so important. I will tell all my friends about it. My faher lived in Canada for many years and I have Canadian relatives. This made me very glad that we have such wonderful neighbors.. Could we have done as well?

  33. The Tom Brokaw piece about Gander was also the best news story I have ever seen. I cried at not only seeing the pictures of how horrible those days were, but in absolute amazement at how I had missed out on this absolutely AWESOME story on the first place!! I am sad and embarrassed to say (in retrospect) I never gave one second of thought to the people that were grounded in planes all over the US and Canada because the pictures and news stories of everything else were so overwhelming already. Thanks to Tom Brokaw for sharing the story and to the people of Gander for being who they are!!
    Read more:

  34. Every American…especiaaly those younger who don’t remember 9/11 should see this story. To know that in all of today’s news of terror, destruction and tragedy… there are still good, kindhearted,caring people in this world. If you happen be American….especially our brothers to the North…God Bless Canada and her wonderful people!!

  35. Thank you Mr. Brokow for your Olympic Profile about the people of Gander, Newfoundland. Whilst travelling through Newfoundland a few years ago, I came upon a book entitled “THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN”. The story of how thousands of distraught travellers came to stay for several days in their small community was unfamiliar to me. Suffice to say that all changed when I read this book. The citizens of Gander’s love, kindness and generosity is inspiring. And I am so very grateful that you made the world aware of their selfless hearts. They would never have done so. It just isn’t in their DNA. God love them, eh!

  36. This is why Tom Brokaw is so good. From “The Greatest Generation” to his coverage on TV to this documentary. I found this by accident, too, and I didn’t get to watch the whole thing. I really want to find it again. So I hope that someone can post here how/where/when it will be re-broadcast or made available.

  37. I agree, what an amazing story. I just happened to walk past the TV and caught it from the start. PLEASE TOM BROKAW PUT THIS “SPECIAL” REPORT ON PRIME TIME, I would love to share this with family and friends.

  38. Like everyone else, I am looking for Tom Brocaw’s story on Gander, NF. I visited there 2 years ago and found the people of Gander to be some of the nicest people in the world. I got to meet a lady at the airport who was there that day and had wonderful stories to tell. I did find a link to a story ABC did on 9/11 in Gander on YouTube under “Angels of Hope”. Here is the link:

    If NBC doesn’t want to share Tom Brokaw’s story, this will tell the tale. PS: I did read the book “THE DAY THE WORLD CAME TO TOWN” and it was very uplifting. I see it is on ebay and I would recommend it. I was lucky enough to get my copy autographed by the little gift shop lady.

  39. Wow, what a community!. The Tom Brokaw report during the 2010 Olympics was the first I have heard of this extraordinary showing of love and compassion.
    Thank you Gander and the good folks in Canada for all your help, assistance, and good deeds.

  40. I have been reading the comments with interest.I live in Newfoundland and for anybody who know us and our history will say they would expext nothing less There are no thanks needed or wanted. If it happened again tomorrow it would be the same thing. We have the reputation of hardworking and generous people. There is a song that says “There are no price tags on the doors of newfoundland” I appricate Mr Brokow’s story in that maybe it will show the reat of the world that only good things can come from getting involved and I thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.Remember our doors are always open. and remember what ever happens in Newfoundland will never stay there GOD BLESS

  41. I am a Newfoundlander and was an active participant in “lending a hand” during 9-11 at Memorial University. We accommodated ~200 of the passengers and many hundreds of others were dispersed throughout the city. Gander deserves every ounce of recognition and praise it receives but Americans need to know that planes also landed in St. John’s (the capital of the province); Stephenville (west coast of the province) and Goose Bay, Labrador where they received the same hospitality. My nephew who is a member of the NYFD was at the twin towers when they collapsed and he barely escaped with his life. 9-11 has affected us all!

  42. An absolutely wonderful human interest show. Hope if comes out on DVD or a future showing by network with advance publicity. Would love to show it to my local civic group.

  43. I watched the broadcast, and was touched beyond words….since we have Directv’s east and west channels (if the event isn’t live, 3 hours after broadcasting on the east channel it airs on the west), I was able to call a slew of church friends (and my family arrived home by that time), to watch it again. Awesome is an overused word….but it fits. I immediately wondered where I could find more information on this story, did a SEARCH, and found your site.
    God bless.
    Marv & Teri Bunch – Liberty, Mississippi

  44. Great good news piece.
    Odd sudden programming insertion and odd also in that that even in September 2001 had nothing to do with the 2010 games or the olympics in general and it was only remotely related to Canada.
    I expect Brokaw’s retirement contract with NBC provides for his producing x number of specials with the condition that they be aired in prime times.

  45. Hi. I am from Gander Newfoundland and remember that day really well. Sadly i missed the program. Dose anyone know where it is being replayed??
    Thank you.

  46. This was one of the most touching post 9/11 pieces I have seen. In an era where every day we see the violence around the world, it was inspiring to see the outpouring of generosity, love and resources the people of Gander provided. They proved to me that there are more good people in the world than not.

  47. This was an incredible story that needs shared with the world! I hope it airs on prime time soon to show what good people do in a time of crisis. If more neighbors extended a hand like this there would be more peace in the this world. Not many stories bring me to tears, but this one needed a few tissues.

  48. What a wonderful story! It’s an absolute shame this video cannot be found online. NBC should be ashamed of themselves for not making this video available online so those who were lucky enough to see it can share it with those who missed it.

  49. I am SO grateful that I happened to be watching when this aired…and that I had my DVR set! I was tyring to find it online to share w/ friends and family. One of the beautiful things that happened on that tragic day. I was in tears the entire time. I can not believe NBC stuck this on in mid afternoon. What a shame that more people did not see this amazing piece. Thank you people of Gander- your country should be so proud! God Bless You!

  50. Watching the show was great and moving experience. I heard the story when my wife and I was in the area for a vacation in October 2009 but nothing like watching the actual event at Gander and “people helping people”. My wife and I do a lot of volunteer works and the show made me feel to do more.From time to time, I organize teams of volunteer workers. Do you know if we could get a copy of the tape that we can show to encourage people to do volunteer works and motivate helping those that are in need.

  51. does anyone know if the NBC Closing Ceremonies downloads available on iTunes include this Tom Brokaw report? There are 5 clips in total that can be downloaded for a fee. I would love to see his report.

  52. Geoff, thank you very much for this post as it inspired me to try and start something to get the Tom Brokaw Gander piece aired again. I grew up near Gander (now live in Toronto) and my family was very much involved with this helping those stranded. In any event, I wrote a piece on it and I hope you encourage others to watch the videos, feel free to pass it on to those who you wish, and hopefully we can make something happen. It is a great story and it is very moving to hear the kind words from the wonderful people who have written on your site. Remember for those it the Twitter world: #NBCairBrokawGander9/11 #NBC Please use and abuse, and pass on this hash tag. I hope you enjoy this post. Thanks, Jaret

  53. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NBC! This documentary by Tom Brocaw needs to be broadcast again so that a greater number of people can view this great humanatory story. It proves that there are still good hearted people out there in this old world!!

  54. I am absolutely thrilled that so many people have reacted to Tom Brokaw’s story “Operation Yellow Ribbon” which aired on Friday, February 27, during the Olympics. And I am likewise happy that so many would like for NBC to air this amazing story again–in prime time. As one of the “plane people” diverted to Gander on 9/11 and as a participant in the Tom Brokaw documentary, I hope with all my heart that NBC will hear the pleas of the thousands who did not get to see the story when it was originally scheduled to air. I know I am biased because I experienced a day sitting aboard Delta Flight 15 on the tarmac in Gander, then being bussed to the tiny town of Lewisporte where nearly 800 passengers were so lovingly cared for during the next several days. I know what we experienced in Lewisporte, Gander, Appleton, Gambo, Norris Arm, and all the other tiny towns truly changed the lives of thousands and thousands of people all around the world. I spend the majority of my time telling the absolutely incredible story of Newfoundland and its kind, gentle people with their lovely sense of humor and marvelous accents. And although I have talked with thousands of people during the past eight years, I keep hearing from others who keep asking the question: “Why haven’t we heard this very wonderful story before?” Tom Brokaw’s story of amazing the altruism exhibited by the people of Newfoundland should be aired time and time again. Instead of being bombarded by the many stories of man’s inhumanity to man, this is a true story of man’s love of his fellow man, and it gives us all a wonderful reason to treat our fellow citizens with respect. For those of you who read these words, I hope you will cotact NBC and ask that the Tom Brokaw story of 9/11 be aired again in prime time–not only that it be aired, but that the airing time be publicized so that others can experience this beautiful, beautiful true story. Thank you.

  55. Sorry about the several typos. I get quite emotional any time I think, speak or write about 9/11 and the people of Newfoundland.

  56. As a Canadian I was, of course, aware of this story shortly after 9/11, but what I was unaware of until I saw Tom Brokaw’s documentary was the fact that the scholarship fund had grown to almost $1,000,000 thanks to the tireless efforts of Ms. Brooks-Jones, and the generosity of countless Americans and others. It was an inspired gift and is an inspiring legacy. Thank you Shirley.

  57. I received an email from a Jeremy Hunt, NBC News Archives, stating that MSNBC will re-air the segment on Saturday, March 13th at noon and Sunday, March 14th at 1pm. He also said he didn’t think it would be made available for purchase or download and was not aware of any plans to re-broadcast it on NBC.

  58. What an incredible, inspiring story this is! At least it’s available somewhere, even if not from NBC. Five minutes after it was over, I was online looking for a way to purchase it. Thanks so much to John for the info, to Steven for the links, to Shirley Brooks-Jones for sharing even more of her experience here, and to Craig McCoy for the rebroadcast schedule.

  59. My mother & I were sitting in her family room watching the olympics when this broadcast came on by Tom Brokaw. What a wonderful story, both she and I were saddened that we had never heard of this before the broadcast we just happened to catch. I agree with several others here – this should be broadcast just as the other events have been rebroadcast. As a citizen of the US, I applaud those that helped all these travelers – they really went above and beyond for people they did not even know and I offer you the most heartfelt THANK YOU I can muster.

  60. The Tom Brokaw 911 show will be re aired on Sat. the 13th at noon (Eastern Std. Time and on Sunday, the 14th at 1 pm. eastern daylight time on MSNBC)…..
    Hope you can watch it…great show….

  61. How is it that I’m not seeing this on the MSNBC schedule for today or tomorrow? Isn’t MSNBC programming the same everywhere? Maybe the scheduled show is being preempted? I sure hope this is shown in Houston!

  62. Just by chance, I caught about 3/4 of the program today as it isn’t listed on the schedule. It was a very moving piece.
    Interesting enough it is only part of the story of diverted flights on that day – in total more than 45,000 passengers on almost 300 flights heading to the US were diverted to at least 14 Canadian airports.
    You can read about it here:

    The diversions led to a small controversy in Canada (given the scope of the crisis) when President Bush, at a press conference, failed to include Canada in a very long list of countries he thanked for their assistance on Sept 11. The President later “explained” the oversight by saying someting to the effect of “you don’t need to thank family” and left it at that.

    1. Sam –

      We can never thank Canada enough. Think back to the American’s smuggled out of Tehran by Canada during the Iranian hostage crisis.


  63. The vimeo video has been pulled. I don’t get msnbc, (and wouldn’t watch it for other reasons if I could) but stumbled across this story and it’s a shame that NBC is not putting this where people can see it. I can get the most inane SNL clips, or silly “Minute to Win It” games, yet a good documentary that shows people stepping up in the midst of tragedy isn’t available?

  64. Please keep us posted if anyone hears if NBC posts this story on their website – or if it is posted on any other website. I was not aware that NBC was running the documentary this past weekend, and, well… missed it. I have told dozens of people about this and had been sending them to the “vimeo” site. This should be required viewing.

  65. How can I obtain a copy of Tom Browkaw’s documentary re Gander on 9/11. I want to send it to a 90 year old couple who were on one of the planes.

  66. After reading all the posts above,I agree with all the good words about the people of Gander. If everyone that has written something here would also write to NBC and request a primetime showing or maybe for them to offer a DVD? I did manage to tape the second showing a few weeks ago. Every American should see this and after they do, send a Big THANK YOU to all the people of Gander. We don’t know how lucky we are to have such wonderful and caring neighbors. GOD BLESS the people of GANDER !!

  67. This was the best documentary I have ever seen. Tom should win some kind of an award for this. And the people of Gander should as well.
    It shows how people open their hearts in time of tragedy. The people of Gander should always be praised for what they did and the manner in which they did it.
    God Bless You All!

  68. Iceland’s volcanic eruption gives the world an opportunity to remember Gander’s generosity and “pay it forward.” This time, instead of 7,000 stranded passengers, there reportedly are several hundred thousand people waiting in ticket counter lines at airports around the world. We live an hour from an international airport, but I’m seriously thinking about driving to the airport, finding a stranded family with little boys and taking them to the Scout Show tomorrow.

  69. Loved this vedeo. Would like to buy it if anyone can tell me where i can get it. If anyone recoeded this and would like to share, i would appreciate it. Will check back at this site.

  70. I was one of those people “stranded” in Gander on September 11, 2001. But it was more like being stranded on an island paradise compared to the insanity going on down in the States that week. I was on United flight 929 from London to Chicago.

    Just as the attacks happened, our 777 pilot was forced to dump the fuel because we were too heavy to land with that much in the fuel tanks as we descended quickly. He reported to us very calmly, “There is nothing wrong with this aircraft….but the borders to the United States are closed.” Needless to say, it was a chilling statement and a confusing shock to the senses.

    We spent the first night sitting on the plane until they were able to get us off. We then we spent the week in the beautiful town of Gambo, about an hour away. Our whole plane of 200+ slept on the floor of the Salvation Army Church. We wore the same clothes and underwear the whole week, as we could not get our checked bags.

    They took care of us like we were family. We drank the town’s one tavern bone dry. I ate bottled moose meat. I showered in a complete stranger’s house. It was hospitality at it’s best and like nowhere else in the world.

    I owe those wonderful Canadian people so much for doing so much for me, for doing so much for so many, for doing so much at such a terrible time. Thanks Gambo. You are blessed to live in such a peaceful place.

  71. ¹ – To say Gander is rural is an understatement! I landed there for refueliing on a westbound Overseas National Airways DC-8 transatlantic flight in the mid-70s. We flew in over a deep pine forest without seeing a sign of civilization. I figured we’d see the town on the way out, but again, nothing but pine trees until we were back over the Atlantic. porcupineridge Sorry but there are NOT any pine trees in newfoundland I have lived here all my life was born here

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