Film Friday: Sully (Miracle on the Hudson)

My wife and I saw this film again this week, the true story about the miraculous landing of commercial flight 1549 on the Hudson river, after the plane was hit by Canada Geese shortly after take-off. And though I have commented on the film before, I was struck this week by captain Chesley Sullenburger’s (Sully’s) final speech at the end of the enquiry…

When the members of the enquiry praise Sully for his achievement he is quick to point out that he disagrees. He was part of a team, one that included his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, and all the other people he names (1200 of them) who risked their lives to rescue 155 passengers and crew. This recue could not have happened if folks had not pulled together, in so many different ways.

It seems salient to post this at a time when the UK feels so divided. We need each other so much, with our various strengths and abilities, personalities and life-experiences, to make a difference. To keep going. To find a way through. We are not islands, though we may often wish we were, and it can be tempting to make ourselves feel right and strong by making others look weak and wrong. But we inhabit a planet full of countries and continents, themselves full of people who are vastly different individuals, and yet all human. We are part of a body, and if one part lashes out, or is hurt, or neglected, the whole body suffers. Bill Withers once sang about leaning on one another, Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. That certainly happened that day on the Hudson River. I’m sure it continues to happen every day. I’m so grateful for those who have given me a shoulder, a hand, a smile when I’ve needed it. Thank you.

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