“Telemachos saw Athene and went straight to the forecourt, the heart within him scandalized that a guest should still be standing at the doors. He stood beside her and took her by the right hand, and relieved her of the bronze spear, and spoke to her and addressed her in winged words: ‘Welcome, stranger. You shall be entertained as a guest among us. Afterward, when you have tasted dinner, you shall tell us what your need is.’…And he led her and seated her in a chair, with a cloth to sit on, the chair splendid and elaborate.” -Homer, The Odyssey
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers
On the cusp of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, yes we will reflect on the horrible tragedy that occurred, but we should also remember the many remarkable acts of heroism and kindness that transpired. One such act has to do with the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland. The population is roughly 10,000, but on that fateful day it nearly doubled. Why?
Gander airport marks the closest point between Europe and the U.S. and is a preferred emergency landing spot for medical and other emergencies. Tons of extra planes from nearly 100 countries, filled with anxiety-ridden passengers, landed there on 9/11. The town immediately rushed into action providing food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc…and all kinds of comfort to the stranded passengers. You can read more about it here.
The story also became a Broadway musical, “Come From Away”, and the filmed version launches tomorrow on Apple TV. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times wrote an insightful article about the musical which you can read here.
Give it a watch. Let me know what you think.
And on those dark days when you despair and feel there’s not much good in the world, remember Gander. Remember all the heroes of 9/11. Remember all the heroes throughout history as well as the ones working in the world today. Often behind the scenes with no fanfare or recognition. Just going about their business, being kind, being helpful, doing their job, with a quiet dignity and purpose.
Lastly, remember the advice of Marcus Aurelius…”Don’t waste time arguing what a good [person] should be. Be one.”