The Day the World Came to Town - Jim Defede

The Day the World Came to Town

By Jim Defede

  • Release Date: 2011-07-12
  • Genre: Americas
Score: 4.5
From 137 Ratings


"For the better part of a week, nearly every man, woman, and child in Gander and the surrounding smaller towns stopped what they were doing so they could help. They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked for nothing in return. They affirmed the basic goodness of man at a time when it was easy to doubt such humanity still existed."

When thirty-eight jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001, due to the closing of United States airspace, the citizens of this small community were called upon to come to the aid of more than six thousand displaced travelers.

Roxanne and Clarke Loper were excited to be on their way home from a lengthy and exhausting trip to Kazakhstan, where they had adopted a daughter, when their plane suddenly changed course and they found themselves in Newfoundland. Hannah and Dennis O'Rourke, who had been on vacation in Ireland, were forced to receive updates by telephone on the search for their son Kevin, who was among the firefighters missing at the World Trade Center. George Vitale, a New York state trooper and head of the governor's security detail in New York City who was returning from a trip to Dublin, struggled to locate his sister Patty, who worked in the Twin Towers. A family of Russian immigrants, on their way to the Seattle area to begin a new life, dealt with the uncertainty of conditions in their future home.

The people of Gander were asked to aid and care for these distraught travelers, as well as for thousands more, and their response was truly extraordinary. Oz Fudge, the town constable, searched all over Gander for a flight-crew member so that he could give her a hug as a favor to her sister, a fellow law enforcement officer who managed to reach him by phone. Eithne Smith, an elementary-school teacher, helped the passengers staying at her school put together letters to family members all over the world, which she then faxed. Bonnie Harris, Vi Tucker, and Linda Humby, members of a local animal protection agency, crawled into the jets' cargo holds to feed and care for all of the animals on the flights. Hundreds of people put their names on a list to take passengers into their homes and give them a chance to get cleaned up and relax.

The Day the World Came to Town is a positively heartwarming account of the citizens of Gander and its surrounding communities and the unexpected guests who were welcomed with exemplary kindness.


  • The day the world came to town

    By swiitgrl
    One of the very best books I have read and I have been reading for over 50 years. It made you laugh, made you cry, a book I could not put down. It also made me very proud that I was born in Newfoundland, and I am now a United States citizen living in this great country for 50 years
  • So Uplifting!!

    By CountryCommuter Austin, TX
    I quickly felt as though I was one of the passengers, and then interchangeably, one of the townspeople. Having lived thru the 9/11 (in Texas) through the whole ordeal, I was only aware of what Americans were going through (here). Reading this book 12+ years later, I now realize how it affected SO many other nationalities, but in different ways. I also never heard about (or thought of) all those flights that were inbound from other countries when the U.S. cancelled all landings, but now I know. What amazes me most is just HOW GENEROUS people are, to complete strangers, with NO expectation of repayment, and on the other side of that coin, how giving the American guests were after-the-fact. This was truly a wonderful book, written in a great form, that included a huge cast of characters in one book, but gave enough background on each one to make you think you knew them. I can't give this enough stars, but wish I could.
  • A New Perspective

    By Christina Ippolito
    My son was assigned this book to read for his Theology class. Over the past several years, I have realized the true enjoyment of reading his assignments for this class. This book, however, was more than exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed the new perspective on 9/11. This enlightenment coupled with the dynamic characters, both Newfies and visitors alike, made this book an extraordinary read.
  • Previously Untold Story

    By CSpPi
    Just when you think every story about 9/11 has been rendered, you find a gem like this book. Heartwarming, beautiful - a testament to the human spirit.
  • The Day the World Came to Town

    By Melanie Jackson
    I have been waiting a long time for this book to be available in iBooks. One of the best books I have read!! Thank you to everyone involved in making this book possible!
  • Simply excellent

    By DebMichelle
    This unique view of a day that people think they've heard everything about is a must-read! Do not pass this up. A great story of support & unity.