Pax* Centurion* News* Oct. 7, 2001


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Posted by Penny (63.163.68.115) on October 07, 2001 at 21:05:14:

****************************************************************
* Pax* Centurion* News*
*
*****************************************************************

*Barry Sultanoff, poet
*The Power of the Possible, a heartwarming story
*Global Voice of Peace, Oct. 11

*****************************************************************
* Another day
on this beautiful planet--
never take for granted

-Barry Sultanoff

****************************************************************

* THE POWER OF THE POSSIBLE

ONCE IN A WHILE, WE NEED TO HEAR THE REALLY GOOD THINGS
THAT HAPPEN IN LIFE -- NOT ONLY THE DISASTERS OR DAY-BY-DAY
PROBLEMS. THAT IS WHAT THIS STORY IS.

We were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt flying over the North Atlantic and I
was in my crew rest seat taking my scheduled rest break. All of a sudden
the curtains parted violently and I was told to go to the cockpit, right now,
to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had one
of those "All Business" looks on their faces. The captain handed me a
printed message. I quickly read the message and realized the importance
of it. The message was from Atlanta, addressed to our flight, and simply
said, "All airways over the Continental US are closed. Land ASAP at the
nearest airport, advise your destination."

Now, when a dispatcher tells you to land immediately without suggesting
which airport, one can assume that the dispatcher has reluctantly given up
control of the flight to the captain. We knew it was a serious situation and
we needed to find terra firma quickly. It was quickly decided that the nearest
airport was 400 miles away, behind our right shoulder, in Gander, on the
island of New Foundland.

A quick request was made to the Canadian traffic controller and a right turn,
directly to Gander, was approved immediately. We found out later why there
was no hesitation by the Canadian controller approving our request.

We, the in-flight crew, were told to get the airplane ready for an immediate
landing. While this was going on another message arrived from Atlanta
telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. We briefed the
in-flight crew about going to Gander and we went about our business 'closing
down' the airplane for a landing. A few minutes later I went back to the cockpit
to find out that some airplanes had been hijacked and were being flown into
buildings all over the US. We decided to make an announcement and LIE to
the passengers for the time being. We told them that an instrument problem
had arisen on the airplane and that we needed to land at Gander, to have it
checked. We promised to give more Information after landing in Gander.

There were many unhappy passengers but that is par for the course.
We landed in Gander about 40 minutes after the start of this episode. There
were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world.
After we parked on the ramp the captain made the following announcement.
Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around
us have the same instrument problem as we have. But the reality is that we
are here for a good reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew
about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief.
Local time at Gander was 12:30 pm. (11:00 AM EST) Gander control told us
to stay put. No one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground
was allowed to come near the aircrafts. Only a car from the airport police would
come around once in a while, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In
the next hour or so all the airways over the North Atlantic were vacated and
Gander alone ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, out of which 27
were flying US flags. We were told that each and every plane was to be offloaded, one at a time, with the foreign carriers given the priority.
We were No. 14 in the US category. We were further told that we would be
given a tentative time to deplane at 6 pm.

Meanwhile bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and
for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the US were either blocked or jammed and to try again. Some time late in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash.

Now the passengers were totally bewildered and emotionally exhausted but
stayed calm as we kept reminding them to look around to see that we were not
the only ones in this predicament. There were 52 other planes with people
on them in the same situation. We also told them that the Canadian Government
was in charge and we were at their mercy.

True to their word, at 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would come at 11 AM, the next morning. That took the last wind out of the passengers and they simply resigned and accepted this news without much noise and really started to get into a mode of spending the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us any and all medical attention if needed; medicine, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situation during the night. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her.

The night passed without any further complications on our airplane despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th
we were told to get ready to leave the aircraft. A convoy of school buses showed up at the side of the airplane, the stairway was hooked up and the passengers were taken to the terminal for processing.

We, the crew, were taken to the same terminal but were told to go to a different section, where we were processed through Immigration and customs and then had to register with the Red Cross. After that we were isolated from our passengers and were taken in a caravan of vans to a very small hotel in the town of Gander. We had no idea where our passengers were going.

The town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people. Red Cross told us
that they were going to process about 10,500 passengers from all the airplanes
that were forced into Gander. We were told to just relax at the hotel and wait
for a call to go back to the airport, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile we enjoyed ourselves going around town discovering things and
enjoying the hospitality. The people were so friendly and they just knew that
we were the "Plane people". We all had a great time until we got that call,
2 days later, on the 14th at 7AM. We made it to the airport by 8:30AM and left for Atlanta at 12:30 PM arriving in Atlanta at about 4:30PM. (Gander is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of EST, yes!, 1 hour and 30 minutes.)

But that's not what I wanted to tell you. What passengers told us was so
uplifting and incredible and the timing couldn't have been better. We found
out that Gander and the surrounding small communities, within a 75 Kilometer
radius, had closed all the high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other
large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to a mass lodging area. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up. ALL the high school students HAD to volunteer taking care of the "GUESTS".

Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 Kilometers
from Gander. There they were put in a high school. If any women wanted to be
in a women only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were given no choice and were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady, she was put up in a private home right across
the street from a 24 hour Urgent Care type facility. There were DDS on call and
they had both male and female nurses available and stayed with the crowd for the
duration. Phone calls and emails to US and Europe were available for every one
once a day.

During the days the passengers were given a choice of "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went to see the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the school for those who elected to stay put. Others were driven to the eatery of their choice and fed. They were given tokens to go to the local Laundromat to wash their clothes, since their luggage was still on the aircraft.

In other words, every single need was met for those unfortunate travelers.
Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. After all that, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single one missing or late. All because the local Red Cross had all the information about the goings on back at Gander and knew which group needed to leave for the airport at what time. It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everybody knew everybody else by their name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. It was mind boggling. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a party flight. We simply stayed out of their way. The passengers had totally bonded and they were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. And then a strange thing happened. One of our business class passengers approached me and asked if he could speak over the PA to his fellow passengers. We never, never, allow that.
But something told me to get out of his way. I said "of course". The gentleman picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He further stated that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of the town of Lewisporte. He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide a scholarship for high school student(s) of Lewisporte to help them go to college. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, it totaled to $14.5K or about $20K Canadian. The gentleman who started all this turned out to be a MD from Virginia. He promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

Why, all of this? Just because some people in far away places were kind to
some strangers, who happened to literally drop in among them?

-author not known

***************************************************************

October 11, 2001 . 1 month later

We Invite You to Join in

* A GLOBAL VOICE OF PEACE


11 am New York Time
11 minutes of Prayer

11 represents the date and is a symbol of the 2 World Trade Towers
standing side by side

At 11 am NY time on Oct. 11th,
EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE
synchronize your watches, clocks, schedules,
no matter where you are or what you are doing,
wake up in the middle of the night.

SEND OUT every ounce of your LOVE'S LIGHT
to the sites in New York, Pentagon and Pittsburgh
as ONE PEOPLE.

A GLOBAL VOICE of Love's Light
EMBRACING all those spirits buried there,
those who are injured,
their families
and the planet
who have suffered a great loss.

Let the RAYS OF OUR LOVE'S LIGHT
EMANATE from those sites out
to the far reaches of the UNIVERSE
with an energy so powerful
that it will shift the planet's axis
to one of PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

GOD BLESS OUR PLANET

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Friends of the Global Voice:
-

A Global Voice of Peace will be a peaceful action statement in the wake of all
that has happened and the crying out for peace and a peaceful resolve to keep
the world intact.

The intention and agenda proposed for this day is as follows:

- John Lennon's "Imagine" would lead in to the
11 minute prayer. This song would be broadcast around the world simultaneously.

- Then there would be 11 minutes of silent prayer world-wide

- A Shofar blowing at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem would mark the ending of
the silence, followed by the ringing of church bells, the sound of the Tibetan
Horns, and other music representing the different countries. All this will be
broadcast simultaneously

- For the remainder of the day, all radio stations worldwide would play music and
songs denoting PEACE AND LOVE.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

In my knowing, there will be great Power in this message.

This is a major undertaking, and I know it will happen with all of your help.

1. Posters designed, enlarged, shown on TV, posted in windows.

Flyers distributed to in post offices, banks, commercial and retail shops.

2. Email all the media TV and Radio stations, Newspapers, Nationally and Internationally

3. A team of Telecommunications personnel from the broadcast field who will be
able to orchestrate the simulcast broadcast

4. Sponsors to get this information out to the public, so it can take hold NOW.

5. Suggestions or contacts you may have.

6. Email it to everyone you know. Repetition and Exposure for it to catch on.

7. People to help us do all this

It's wonderful to have your personal support.Every Person CAN make a Difference

In Loving Spirit...Gylian Creed

**************************************

My good friend, Jean Houston, agrees with and supports this initiative

Your support in the following areas: designing, distributing, and translating posters
and flyers; simultaneous broadcasts with music coordination and media involvement.
Please forward to everyone, every organization, everywhere.

For information contact: gyliancreed@youremergentself.net

Gylian Creed, M.S. The Emergent Life Foundation 275 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941

******************************************************************
Weaving The Dream!
a worldwide interactive LiveArt Project for the new millennium'
http://www.ashlandweb.com/millennium.weave/index.html/messageboard


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