The Captain of the Ship of State has kept the nation sailing safely through deep and troubling waters these past eight years. Yesterday as President George W. Bush prepared to deliver his farewell address to the nation there came the shocking news that a commuter plane had crashed into the Hudson River in New York City.
My first thoughts were, “Oh, no, not another terrorist attack!” After all, eight months in President Bush’s first term two planes flying in New York’s air space caused great destruction on September 11th, 2001 and just as Bush was about to say farewell some seven plus years later, here was a plane that could possibly be doing the same thing.
Then came the news that it wasn’t a small plane that had plunged into the icy waters of the Hudson River, it was a US Airways jet with 155 souls aboard.
Then we learned that the plane was still afloat and encircled by many ferries, and other boats as people were literally standing on the wings.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Reporting from New York – After a stricken US Airways jet made an extraordinary emergency landing in the Hudson River on Thursday, a flotilla of commuter ferries, water taxis and other boats plucked all 155 passengers and crew — many shivering as they stood on the plane’s wings — to safety in as little as five minutes.
Once the plane was down, the ferries and other boats immediately went into action.
“Hurry up, guys! Man overboard!” shouted Vince Lombardi, the captain of the ferry Thomas Jefferson. Lombardi and his crew were among the first at the scene and rescued 56 people, he said. “They were shouting ‘I’m cold, I’m cold.’ “
As we have since learned, all the passengers on the plane were brought safely out of the water. They were cold and wet but alive. They were survivers, many have since declared, of a miracle.
The pilot, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger lll, a USAF veteran, has over 40 years of flying experience. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, (B.S.), Purdue University (M.S.) and the University of Northern Colorado (M.A.). He was a speaker on two panels at the High Reliability Organizations (HRO) 2007 International Conference in Deauville, France May 29-31, 2007. He has just been named a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.
Even more providentially, Sullenberger heads up an aviation safety firm, is an expert in Catastrophic Risk Management and a certified glider pilot.
Sullenberger glided his plane safely into the water.
Last night President Bush delivered his farewell speech and although the news media covered it, most news organizations quickly went back to fulltime coverage of the miracle on the Hudson River. I found it ironic that not one commentator made note of the curious timing or place or circumstances of the crash landing or the fact that the pilot, an Air Force veteran was the right man in the right place at the right time which in the early days just after 911 was also how President Bush was being described by the likes of Howard Fineman and others in the liberal media.
No one made any connections.
How quickly Americans have forgotten.
In his piece, The 9/11 Presidency, Phillip Klein writes the following:
But while most of America has moved on from that horrific Tuesday morning, the occupant of the White House could not.
“As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9-11,” President Bush said in Thursday night’s farewell address. “But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.”
This threat against our nation became President Bush’s overwhelming focus after September 11th, 2001. He would defend the American people and our American way of freedom. He would do it against opposition from Democrats and even from some in his own party. President Bush chose principle over popularity. He did keep the American people safe. We will land safely on January 20th, 2009 with Captain George W. Bush at the helm.
Thank you President Bush for taking America on this safe journey these past eight years. The time seems to have flown and while I know that it is time for your term to end I am very sorry to see you leave. Our nation has been blessed to have such an honorable and good man leading it. I am sincerely sorry that there are so many Americans who don’t realize the good that you have done or the many sacrifices that you and others have made in the name of national security.
Some day history will tell the world about the greatness of the man, George W. Bush. Our great grandchildren will one day read about the tens of millions of people who now live in a democracy because of your belief that the desire for freedom resides in every human heart. The detractors who hounded you these past eight years will be forgotten because their words were full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, as we knew all along.
Come Tuesday, January 20th, at 11:30 a.m. EST, Captain Sullenberger’s advice to the passengers on Flight 1549 moments before they crash landed into the Hudson River may be prophetic advice for all of America, “Brace for impact.”