Talk to Laura Louie about the overwhelming kindness she and her two small daughters experienced in this distant corner of Canada, briefly transformed by a twist of history into an international aviation hub. "We were completely taken care of," she remembers. "For everyone else, 9/11 has a heavy connotation. But for me it was when I was reminded what humanity is."
Or listen to Monica Burke, a 44-year-old emergency dispatcher from Seattle: "Our whole world was in chaos. We didn't even know where we were except that we were in some weird time zone in Canada. I didn't know when I was getting home, but these people basically put their lives on hold. I mean, their kids couldn't go to school because we were using the schools as shelters.
"Bus drivers came off strike to drive us. Pharmacists came to the shelters and said 'What do you need?' and nobody asked for money. It's pretty incredible that they were able to respond like that, especially with short notice."
Ten years later, that huge, comforting hug of Gander, Newfoundland still warms the memories of the 6,600 passengers who descended without warning on the town of 10,000. Many of them have made deep friendships with the islanders who cared for them, and some will travel here for the 10th anniversary commemorations.
Image: This Sept. 15, 2001 photo provided by Des Dillon shows the last flight to leave the town after the passengers were stranded there for five days following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Dillon, a Gander, Newfoundland, Canada resident headed up the emergency response for the Red Cross in Gander.Text & Images: AP