Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I am Reading

I just finished reading Highest Duty: My Search for what Really Matters by Chesley Sullenberger. He is the pilot who made an Emergency landing in the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey after losing both engines to encounters with birds. I was really looking forward to reading this as just a few months before his landing we were right there when on vacation. My DH and I walked across the George Washington bridge which is just North of the site of the water landing as well as went through the tunnel to the south. I was able to visualize the location he was talking about and that just seemed to make the event all the more incredible to me.

The book not only tells about the few brief minutes of this flight, but he recalls and tells about his childhood and adult life in vivid detail so that the reader can see how his experiences and training all contribute to what he was able to accomplish in those few short minutes. There are some scenes that brought me to tears as he tells about some of his closest friends and their experiences. Yet, the writing does not drag on and for me was a book that I had a hard time putting down.

In reflecting on the book I am amazed by his humility and matter of factness about the whole event. He repeatedly says he was just doing what he was trained to do and emphasizes his responsibility to his passengers. I feel he would be uncomfortable with the label of hero, but to his passengers he truly was. I also would point to him as a hero. He did all he was capable of doing to promote the welfare and safety of others on his flight and brought the flight to an end without losing any life. (Except for the birds.)

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