Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Newfoundland Journal - Gander

Gander will be remembered by many in the international aviation community for the outpouring of hospitality to all those air passengers who were forced to land there immediately after 9/11. It is a town of a little under 10,000 inhabitants, that, with the help of surrounding towns and villages, took in and cared for almost 7,000 stranded people. I met a lady who recalled how her congregation opened the church kitchen and just started cooking and serving meals. People brought in extra food from home to help keep the kitchen supplied. 

But before 9/11 there was another event which is remembered there. The Silent Witness Memorial is located just south of Gander.  It's dedicated to the 256 service personnel and crew of  Arrow Air Flight 1285, which crashed on December 12, 1985. Most of the passengers were members of the 101st Airborne Division, US Army, who were returning from a peace keeping mission in the Middle East to their base in Fort Campbell, KY. The plane crashed about 3,000 feet from the end of the runway in the woods on the hillside overlooking Gander Lake.

The Memorial is located at the crash site. 256 trees were planted to bear silent witnesses of the tragedy.  There is  a sculpture of an American soldier holding the hands of two children on a rock outcropping facing in the direction of Fort Campbell where, I have heard, there is a another sculpture facing back toward the crash site. Gander is a special place. 

1 comment:

tori said...

Oh, the picture of those statues made me choke up a little.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry Davis Thoreau