Last week, Come From Away wrapped its lengthy run on Broadway. I had the chance to attend the final performance and wanted to share my feelings about the show, and the emotional connection it had for me. Come From Away is a broadway show that showcases what happened on the few days after 9/11 when planes from around the world had to be diverted and grounded in a small community called Gander, Newfoundland. A small community rallied to host over 7,000 international visitors into an area that had as many people living there as they did visitors.
The show exemplifies what compassion and love are in times of need. It shows that there are still good people out there who will give the shirt off their back when someone else needs it. To the people of Gander, they were just offering basic needs that the international travelers had to have, but to the “plane people,” it was more than that. They were shown love, compassion, and a safe place when they were in need of reassurance.
The final show in NYC was full of emotions from the cast, crew, and the packed house in attendance. For myself, this was a lot more than just a show. 21 years ago, I found myself at Ground Zero in NYC doing relief work. I spent 7 weeks in the city looking for survivors, and one of my good friends whose remains were never recovered. As a first responder experiencing the disaster firsthand, the show showed me the love and compassion that communities not only in the US but around the world had for the terrorist attack in New York.
It took me 21 years to return to the city that never sleeps, but when I was given the opportunity to attend this last performance I had to take it. I spent that last day at the 9/11 museum and memorial and being able to attend the last performance gave me the opportunity to say goodbye to my friend and make peace with what I had seen, experienced, and felt all of these years.
To the writers, producers, cast, and crew of Come From Away, I want to say thank you. Not only for an amazing performance full of love and emotion but a chance for me to recover. I struggled for years to want to return but couldn’t bring myself to it. YOUR SHOW gave me the strength along with the support of my amazing wife and friends to make peace within myself. It was a show to some, but to me, it was more. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving me back something that I had lost. This show impacted more than you will ever know!