By Fred Petrie
September 11 was a storm of infamy and destruction.
By Fred Petrie
September 11 was a storm of infamy and destruction. After four
'missiles', that no 'Star Wars' defence system could have countered,
murdered some 6,000 innocent people, the immediate security response
was to shut down American airspace to make sure there were no more
hijacked aircraft aimed at further targets. Caught in the storm that
Tuesday were over 500 civil airliners enroute to the US from overseas.
Half were able to reverse course and return to origin. The other half
needed safe haven. Canada's airports responded with open arms; 252
aircraft with some 44,000 people onboard found shelter in Canada.
44 of these landed in the central Canadian metropolises of Montreal and
Toronto, with their extensive infrastructure and many hotels. Another
75, flying the Pacific or polar routes, settled in the west. But fully
133 international flights, mostly of widebodied airliners, landed in
Atlantic Canada. Municipal officials, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and
other groups activated emergency plans to transform schools, arenas and
community halls into dormitories for over 22,000 people. Many, many
more Canadians stepped forward to volunteer their homes and to welcome
the displaced. Despite some reports of hotels jacking up to maximum
rates, the much more common response was to give blood. In Winnipeg,
the city itself picked up the hotel tab for the needy when it learned
that airlines were not covering it.