We All Come From Away, But Together We Stand
As the curtains closed, and the roaring of the crowd began to fade, myself and the students of the Columbia University Scholastic Press Association bustled into the front 8 rows of the Gerald Schoenfeld Broadway Theatre, faced by the inspiring cast and crew of Come from Away. They asked where we were from. Everywhere, we said. We were the chinese, and the Korean, the New Mexicans, and the texans. Oh! Said producer Sue Frost. You come from away.
Come From Away, directed by Christopher Ashley, tells the formerly untold story of 38 foreign planes that landed in the town of Gander, Newfoundland after the New York terrorist attacks on September, 11, 2001. The 7000 people making an emergency landing doubled the population of the Canadian town almost overnight.
Newfoundlanders donated necessities such as blankets, clothes and food. Soon the visitors were being completely integrated into society. The townspeople opened their homes,showers, and businesses and the visitors suddenly weren't just a group of nameless people, they were family.
Somehow, since the bombing of the twin towers, the United States has closed its doors to people searching desperately for safe home and place to start over. Muslims all around the world are being feared and generalized, simply because of one's heinous crime against humanity. The Muslim religion is not al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden does not represent the Muslim people.
The town of Newfoundland shared their lives, and yet we are cowering in the innermost thoughts of our paranoia. But we are better than this. We are a country built on accepting, and freedom, and equality, and we are better than this. We cannot let this change who we are.
“The idea of just simple human kindness and understanding who somebody else is and getting to know who they are and getting out of the way of being afraid of somebody can ultimately help us move forward in our lives,” said Producer Sue Frost.
The production brings light to a day of darkness, and as we all mourn for what was lost on September 11, the finale also leaves us filled with the joy of what we found.
As the audience stood clapping, I found myself watching two middle eastern women. They both had wide eyes, and shoulder length straight brown hair. The older woman's mouth lay slightly open, and she stared straight ahead with her wide eyes. She stood frozen, and the other was sobbing, nodding her head as she clapped quickly. The way she clapped reminded me of the way a parent claps teary eyed at their child’s first dance recital. She was the last one standing, and for a minute I wasn’t sure she would sit down again.
Come From Away is more than a touching story, it is an important example. There is love in each other. We must not let ourselves be damaged, because together we must stand.