As you are aware, today, September 11th, 2019, is a very somber day. It’s the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that resulted in the deaths of thousands of First Responders, Military personnel, and civilians. These attacks spurred the United States into declaring war.
Although I was not alive when this happened, I do have a few related stories that I can share with you. Of course, I have a few book suggestions as well.
The Day The World Came To Town by Jim Defede. Often overshadowed by the events in New York City, Washington, and Pennsylvania, this is the story of a small Canadian town called Gander. Besides the 4 hijacked planes, hundreds of other planes were also flying that day. When the U.S airspace was closed, many of those planes were rerouted to Canada. 38 of them came to Gander. With a population of 11, 000, and an airport which hadn’t been used in years, the town was vastly unprepared when 7000 strangers suddenly showed up. But the townspeople showed true Canadian spirit and welcomed the stranded passengers into their homes. They worked tirelessly for the next five days to ensure that the passengers had everything they needed. If this story sounds familiar, it was adapted into a Broadway musical called Come From Away. In fact, many of the people upon whom the characters are based on are featured in this book. If you’re looking for something a little more light-hearted, this is a good book for you. Getting to read about these ordinary people and how they took charge and made the best of a situation is truly inspiring. I’d also recommend seeing Come From Away if you have the chance-the music is simply incredible, and the way the story is told just gives you goosebumps.
One Nation: America Remembers September 11th, 2001 by LIFE. For a more serious read, this is the way to go. The book takes you through the immediate events and the aftermath, as well as the affect it had on America and the world. The use of pictures pairs nicely with the text, and gives you an in-depth idea of what took place. Warning! I admit that I had a hard time not crying while reading it, so this is definitely a tear-jerker.
For a book for pre-teens/young adults, I would recommend We All Fall Down and United We Stand by Eric Walters. I wrote about them in another post, so check it out here. https://noseinabookca.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/my-top-5-eric-walters-books/
When I went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum with my family 2 years ago, the entire event suddenly became very real. I had no trouble imagining what the survivors must have experienced on that day. During our visit to the museum, many people were taking pictures. We were not among them. Everyone agreed that it just felt wrong to be taking pictures at a place where so many people had died. Two pictures made an exception, however. The first is a photo of us at the memorial, where we are having a moment of reflection.
The second was part of an exhibit. Using computers, we were able to write messages of support. These messages would then appear on a map of the world, along with everyone else’s. It showed that this tragedy has impacted people around the globe, not just in the U.S. My family and I decided to write “We are with you”.
Thankfully, the war that took place because of 9/11 has ended. But if there is a next time, it could be much bloodier, and last a lot longer. Hopefully, people can learn to love each other no matter their religion, skin colour, or how they identify. Then war would be a thing of the past. For now, all we can do is hope.