Appleton hosts 17th annual ceremony to remember tragic day
Americans and Canadians gathered in Appleton, Newfoundland and Labrador, Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, for a time of reflection.
It was a chance for the two nationalities to mourn the tragic events of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, and reflect on central Newfoundland’s role in caring for some 7,000 stranded passengers and crew diverted to Gander following the closure of American airspace.
Organizer Derm Flynn, who was the mayor of Appleton in 2001, said it’s humbling to know the contributions of central Newfoundland continue to be remembered all these years later.
“We were there to help, the same as any other emergency. We supported Gander and the international airport, we played our role, as did the other areas of central Newfoundland,” he said. “We done our best to care for people who needed help. It was never about politics.”
Jeanette Gutierrez, a 9-11 survivor, chose to be in Appleton instead of New York to mark the tragedy. She originally came to Newfoundland in 2016 for the 15th anniversary to thank volunteers for what they did, and has been coming back every year since.
Gutierrez was across the street from the World Trade Centre during 9-11. She escaped from the area after the second plane hit the twin towers.
For Gutierrez, her visits to Newfoundland have offered a place of healing.
“It has redefined 9-11 for me,” she said. “To experience a living breathing example of such goodness, to walk amongst these angels, and to know the parallel stories, it helps me to know that while this was a terrible day for me, it wasn’t like it all over the world, here it was different.”
Members of the Fraser Road United Church Handbell Choir preform a musical tribute to commemorate the 17th anniversary of 9-11.
U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft thanked the people of central Newfoundland for everything they did in caring for some 7,000 stranded passengers 17 years ago.
Students of Lakewood Academy in Glenwood had the morning off to attend the memorial service. It was the wish of those in attendance that these students would never have to face such a tragic event in their lifetime.