Last week I got to see the musical “Come From Away” while I was with my kids in New York.
The play tells the true story of Gander, Newfoundland, a town of 9,000 people in Canada that took in more than 7,000 people from planes that could not land in the US on 9/11. The planes were diverted from all over to Gander, unable to finish their journeys when the FAA closed American air space.
Early in the story, the residents of Gander describe bringing the “plane people” into their town, where they have converted any public structure into temporary shelter—the school, the Salvation Army, the churches…They have been cooking all day long and collecting clothes and toiletries to feed this giant crew of displaced people, far away from home and from where they want to be.
These lyrics are from the song “Phoning Home,” by David Hein and Irene Sakoff.
The plane people — they’re exhausted — but they don’t want to sleep.
And we’re standing there, ready with all that food. But that’s not
What they wanted. They wanted phones
1:45 a.m. — Six phones are put on tables for
The Plane People to use free of charge
— lined up alongside the road by the Newtel Building
An hour later, they set up 20 more phones
An hour after that, there’s 75 phones and computers
With internet — all being used ‘round the clock
Exhausted, hungry, disheveled…they don’t want food or a nap or a shower.
They want to connect with the people they love.
They want to hear the voices of their families.
Reminder! Join me on Scott Perry’s Creative on Purpose webinar this Sunday May 5 at 11 (Eastern time.) Register here!