In the aftermath of a Haiti disaster, Miracle on the Hudson survivors will still commemorate the one-year anniversary of the day that 155 people took a swim in the Hudson River along with a commercial airbus, two life rafts, and a whole lot of plastic inflatable life vests “stowed underneath your seat in case of a water landing.”
That’s what was happening on January 15, 2009. What’s happening in the days surrounding January 15, 2010 is very different. The attention of the world is focused on Haiti, and the human drama that is playing out there. But that shouldn’t dim the celebration that is still legitimately joyful, and filled with book signings, reunions, celebrations, speaking engagements, and lots and lots of media attention for 155 Hudson crash survivors.
We need to remember things like the Miracle on the Hudson during tragedies like the Haiti earthquake because we can only make it through the disasters by keeping focused on the hope of a better future. Hope is what the Miracle on the Hudson made us all feel, and that’s what we can legitimately allow ourselves to feel again one year later.
This one-year anniversary is an important and meaningful time for everyone who played an integral part in creating a real-life miracle. In a different way, it is equally important and meaningful to everyone else who watched with awe as the drama unfolded before the eyes of the world, as if it was the ultimate reality show. In great contrast to the Haiti earthquake disaster, the Miracle on the Hudson was a disaster avoided. And it’s important to remember what that feels like.
Those who felt renewed in their faith can remember and feel that faith again. Those who were filled with appreciation for how precious life is can remember and feel that appreciation again. Those who were reassured that there are still heroes – like Captain Sully Sullenberger, Jeff Skiles, New York Waterway boat crews, first responders, firefighters, police officers, EMT’s and Red Cross volunteers – can remember and feel reassured again. Those who were filled with awe about breath-taking moments that shouldn’t happen – but somehow do – can remember and be filled with awe again.
Those who want to feel uplifted will be lifting a glass during the official toast at the crash site. Those who have an insatiable fascination for near death experiences and second chance lives will be standing in lines to meet the survivors who wrote their own stories for the Miracle on the Hudson anniversary book, “Brace For Impact.” Those who want to feel inspired again started the week watching the “Brace For Impact” documentary on TLC, and will be listening intently to the interviews and speeches that are happening all week. Those who have lost interest will probably ignore everything and miss a rare opportunity to participate once again in something extraordinary.
Some anniversaries – like September 11, and now the Haiti earthquake – are thrust involuntarily upon us. But most anniversaries are commemorated by choice because of the positive feelings they help us recall. The Miracle on the Hudson will be an anniversary celebration of choice for millions of people for many years to come. It represents the best of the human spirit, the highest form of fate, and the fairy tale ending that we want to believe can happen for us all. It reminds us that even the devastating collapse of physical structures in Haiti cannot collapse the structure of the human spirit.
Happy anniversary to a miracle! And many happy returns.
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