I spent yesterday in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was truly one of the most welcoming cities I’ve ever been to. We are on a cruise and were greeted at the port by a couple of locals, in full Scottish attire, playing a bagpipe and drums. Now, whether or not you like bagpipes, it was still a nice touch. They played again as we left.
As we toured about I heard a story about 9/11/2001 that I’d never heard before. As we all know, every plane in the air on that fateful day was forced to land immediately at the nearest airport. Being as Nova Scotia is one of the first bits of land you get to once crossing the Atlantic, many planes landed in the city of Halifax. Over 8000 people, most of them Americans, got off the planes September 9, 2001 with nowhere to go. So what did the city of Halifax do? They took care of them.
Many of them were housed at a large arena, while others stayed in people’s homes. Some of the Haligonians (that’s what they call themselves) even drove the weary and anxious travelers down to Boston – a 12 hour drive each direction. That is some kind of nice!
But, by far the best story I heard was about a couple that was flying from Great Britain to California to get married. They were staying with a local family and told them the reason for their travel – a wedding that wasn’t going to happen. Once the family heard of the ill-fated wedding, they got into gear and put a wedding on for the couple. They found a dress, a minister, got a cake and had a wedding! I’m sure it wasn’t the wedding they had planned but you can be sure that it was a wedding, filled with kindness they won’t ever forget.
This day will always be remembered with sadness, but today I will also remember the incredible graciousness of a city in Canada. Good job, Haligonians, good job!