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Still more on the June re-union/concert
Contributed by Anonymous on: Wednesday 15 May @ 19:17:03
...and then?Here's an article written by ALANA KLEIN about our get together in June. It should be in a few papers by the time you read this.

See you there.


BY ALANA KLEIN Medill News Service


While they've exchanged everything from e-mails to wedding photos, it's been more than eight months since most of the passengers of Flight 929, who were headed to Chicago but diverted to Newfoundland on Sept. 11, have actually seen each other.

But now the group, which spent five days and nights stranded together at a Salvation Army church in Gambo, Newfoundland, an eastern province in Canada, will reunite this June under happier circumstances -- to see their fellow passenger, British folk singer Julian Dawson, perform at Unity Temple in Oak Park.

"Everybody on the flight knew who Julian was," said Daniel Burke, a Chicago-area passenger who is organizing the reunion. "Every night he'd put on a concert for us."

Passenger Iain Campbell, who posted a message on Flight 929's Web site, wrote that Dawson kept the passengers "from going stir-crazy and ensured our voices were exercised."

Dawson actually wrote a song called "Waiting for the Plane" on his last day in Gambo, which many passengers now refer to as the Gambo Anthem.

"I was just doing my job," Dawson said. "Whatever skill each person had, they put it to use. And what I do is sing."

The last verse sums up the feel of the song: "But we're taking the strain, a little insane, but in the main, we can't complain...we're just waiting for a plane."

Dawson sang the anthem, which Burke describes as a sing-along song, over a loudspeaker on the plane trip from Newfoundland to Chicago.

While 200 passengers were aboard the plane, which took off from London, only about 30 will attend the reunion, Burke said.

"We're not getting any international passengers, but we are expecting the Chicagoans and also people from San Francisco, Indianapolis and near St. Louis."

Flight 929 was just one of 37 flights that was diverted to Newfoundland on Sept. 11. Burke said he was amazed that the city of Gambo, which has roughly 10,000 residents, was able to accommodate 7,000 stranded passengers. Gambo is about 30 miles from Gander, where the plane was diverted.

"They were the nicest people I have ever met," Burke said. "They offered us cots and blankets, showers and phones and three wonderful meals a day."

Despite the heartwarming hospitality, Burke said that passengers were eager to get back on the plane and reunite with their families.

"Passengers just really wanted to go home and not pursue their original destination," Burke said.

Cathy Weimer, a passenger from Indianapolis, said she was surprised that everyone kept so calm.

"It could have been a very volatile situation but it was not -- no one got angry, everyone kept their cool," Weimer said. "Even though we had limited supplies, everyone shared."

Flight 929 was diverted to Newfoundland about five hours into the flight. Many passengers said they sensed something was wrong when the aircraft descended from 38,000 to 10,000 feet within minutes.

"The pilot told us we were being diverted because of a national emergency, but that's all he said," Burke said.

"I thought that maybe nuclear plants had been attacked -- it was very frightening to contemplate what was going on."

Weimer, who was sitting behind one of the plane's wings, said the scariest part of the flight was seeing fuel being dumped outside the wings.

Dawson said he thought World War III had started.

Yet, Burke said he was one of the lucky ones. "Anybody in the air that day who landed felt thankful."

Weimer, who is bringing her family to the reunion, said she still thinks about her Sept. 11 experience every day. "It's still a really big part of my life," Weimer said.

"No matter where we were from on that plane, we all had something in common that day."

Anyone can attend the reunion/concert which will be June 8 at 875 Lake St. in Oak Park at Unity Temple. There will be an admission cost of $15 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 12.

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"Still more on the June re-union/concert" | Login/Create Account | 3 comments
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Re: Still more on the June re-union/concert (Score 1)
by: Anonymous on: Friday 17 May @ 03:44:21
Boy, do I

Read the rest of this comment...

[ Reply ]
> Re: Still more on the June re-union/concert by: Anonymous on: Friday 17 May @ 03:47:59
> Re: Still more on the June re-union/concert by: Anonymous on: Sunday 19 May @ 15:49:57

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