Canada Welcomed Delta Flight Borderless

On 9/11, Canada Welcomed Delta Flight 15 With Open Arms

This is what happens when empathy conquers ignorance.

It was 9/11, 2001 and Delta Flight 15 was on its way home to the US from Germany when it got the call to land immediately. The closest airport was Gander, somewhere in Canada. They landed along with 37 other planes who’d received the same alert and started playing the waiting game. The travelers were just stuck in the terminal, confused and worried.

What they didn’t expect was that Gander and the surrounding area – called Lewisporte (with a population barely larger than the number of stranded plane passengers) – would come to the rescue. In comfort and style, no less. Lewisporte shut down all schools and public places to make time and space for the travelers. They fed them, offered laundry and medical services, and even took folks out to tour the town.


Gander residents feed Flight 115
Gander residents feed Flight 115. Source: Wikipedia


When it was time to leave, Shirley Brooks-Jones, a passenger from Flight 15, remembers: “Everybody was crying. I mean, the men and the women, I mean, the passengers, the little kids. We didn’t want to leave, you know?”

Shirley was so moved that she decided to start an education fund right there at the departure gate. She named it the Lewisporte Flight 15 Scholarship Fund, and all proceeds would be used to send Lewisporte students to college and trade schools. That day, in the terminal, they raised more than $15,000. Now, it has raised upwards of 2 million. The fund has radically changed the future for local students, many of whom were dropping out of school. Now, several students are doctors or on their way to getting PhDs.

This story is a solid reminder that no matter how overwhelming the world might feel sometimes, we all share something profound – the experience of being human.


Flight passengers staying in a Gander gymnasium
Flight passengers staying in a Gander gymnasium for the night. Photo: Scott Cook / Canadian Press


Nuns Block Pipeline Construction Borderless

Nuns Block Pipeline Construction

When an energy company threatened to destroy a community treasure these nuns played hardball.

In Pennsylvania’s rural Lancaster County, a group of nuns has staunchly refused to let an energy company build a natural gas pipeline through a cornfield – a place the whole community cherishes. Now the company is appealing to ’eminent domain’ as a way to work around their protest and build it anyway.

The nuns replied “not so fast” and, on July 9th, built a chapel right in the path of the proposed pipeline. If the company were to go forward with their construction they would have to destroy a consecrated site of worship.

These Catholic nuns are part of a larger, worldwide group called the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, founded in 1843, whose mission it is to make environmental activism and protection an integral part of their religious work. All over the world communities where the Adorers reside have agreed to operate under their principles of ecological justice.


chapel nuns right
Adorers in Columbia, 1929. Photo:


“[The pipeline] just goes totally against everything we believe in — we believe in the sustenance of all creation,” 74-year-old nun Linda Fischer told The Washington Post.

This activism has spurred people of many faiths to come by and show solidarity with the nuns. Composed of 8 wooden benches, an arbor and a pulpit, the chapel is a symbolic stance. Yet more than 300 people showed up to stand in straw and dirt as they witnessed its consecration.

If the construction of the pipeline is continued, the nuns vowed to hold 24/7 vigil at the chapel, reading inclusive, inspiring passages by Pope Francis.


Pipeline construction is blocked by nuns
300 people showed up for the consecration of the chapel. Photo: David Jones / Huffington Post

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