HOUSTON - It's a love story about the goodness that started after Sept. 11, 2001.
All U.S. airports were closed after four jumbo jets crashed; two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania.
The closure of the U.S. airspace meant 38 planes headed to the United States from Europe had nowhere to go.
Nearly 7,000 passengers were aboard those planes.
"We were not told until we actually landed what had happened," passenger Nick Marson, then a resident of England, said.
“We were landing in Gander, Canada,” fellow passenger Diane Kirschke said.
Gander is on the northeast tip of North America. Marson and Kirschke were on the same plane, but not together.
They spent 28 hours on that plane. Overnight, the people of Gander, Newfoundland, population 9,000 set up shelters for nearly 7,000.
"Nothing was too much trouble. They went out of their way to look after us. To make us feel at home," Marson said.
Marson and Kirschke ended up in the same shelter near Gander.
"He asked if he could have the cot next door. And what was I going to say? No?" she said.
That simple encounter on Sept. 12 began a romance that extended beyond their days in Gander. As the two left, Marson said, "I was crying. And it was raining. And we were leaving. And I knew we'd probably never see each other again."
But they did see each other again. Marson scheduled a business trip to Houston (which he admits ran longer that perhaps was needed) and after countless trans-Atlantic phone calls, Marson popped the question!
He said, "In early November, I was in my car and I proposed over the phone."
What Mr. and Mrs. Marson experienced in Gander was produced as the Broadway musical, “Come from Away!”
It is now a hit on Broadway. So is the story of the Marsons. They have characters in the production. The Marsons are regulars at the production, having seen it 75 times.
Diane Marson said, "Our favorite thing is to talk to people afterward. Because the first thing they'll tell you is where they were on 9/11 and their memory of it. Then how they met their partner. The show takes them back there."
The Marsons now live together in Spring, but they return to Gander. They went there for their honeymoon and now on their anniversary.
She said, "Instead of being Newfoundland, it's new found love in our case."
Nick Marson said, "9/11, that was people with hate in their hearts. Then 9/12, that's people with love in their hearts."
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