Thursday, February 23, 2012

#2 Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III

The second of my Lenten posts, of people who inspire my admiration, respect and / or compassion, is about this gentleman, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III.

Captain Sullenberger, you may recall, is the USAirlines pilot who, after his passenger jet carrying 155 souls was disabled by a flock of birds, went on to successfully land it in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 with no loss of life.

He is a person who instills in me a sense of awe that is impossible to describe. His courage under fire, so to speak, and his ability and willingness to make such a decision, and carry it out so wildly successfully, is simply beyond my imagining. 

Every time that incident, and Captain Sully, crosses my mind, I just shake my head in continuing disbelief and admiration. If only the world could boast of many more such heroes…

And, the crowning glory of his ultimate coolness – in every sense of the word – is the fact that he took the time to walk up and down the entire aircraft, twice, to ensure that all the passengers and crew were out, before he left the plane himself. (Certainly a different caliber of man than the captain of that cruise ship that recently sank off Italy, who abandoned ship before even the women and children!)

Click here to read the full account on Wikipedia's website. The section entitled "Post-flight accolades and publicity" is so impressive. Being a baseball fan, one accolade that I very much liked is described on that website as follows: 
"Sullenberger threw out the first pitch of the 2009 Major League Baseball season for the San Francisco Giants. His Giants' jersey was inscribed with the name "Sully" and the number 155 - a reference to the 155 people aboard the plane."
I would be awed and thrilled beyond words just to have the momentary privilege of shaking this man's hand. Well done, Captain Sullenberger, well done.


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