Friday, December 30, 2016

Sully, 2016

I saw the movie Sully when it came out in the theatres and now with the relaxed pace of the Christmas season, I could watch it again with my wife, our daughter, and son-in-law. It is a well-directed movie about an incident in which a plane lands on the Hudson River in New York City. The pilot had just taken off from LaGuardia airport when they struck multiple Canada Geese in the air and lost both engines. Two engine loss was unprecedented at the time. The movie follows the investigation into the crash and flashes back to the incidents that led up to the water-landing and the rescue of the 155 on board. All 155 were saved with only minor injuries, but the pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, was questioned because the aviation safety board was not convinced that the water-landing was the best option for the ill-fated flight. The officials questioned whether Sully should have tried a landing at LaGuardia or Teterboro airport in New Jersey.

Sully is eventually exonerated and praised for his landing of the plane on the Hudson River. At one point in the movie, the woman member of the National Transportation Safety Board (TSB), Elizabeth Davis, praises Sully and says that he is the reason that 155 people are alive. Sully says, "I disagree, it was all of us." He recounts how together as a team, he, his co-pilot, the flight attendants, the passengers, the rescue workers, the ferry workers, and others had managed to work together to save 155 lives. It is an inspiring moment in the film in which the pilot, even after he had been vilified by some at the TSB, could point out the importance of teamwork. I wonder how well I would have done in similar circumstances in which I had been questioned and told that I had done something wrong. When I was finally absolved of any wrong-doing and instead praised, would I have had the presence of mind to tell others that it was a team effort? Or would I have taken all the praise for myself?

In our better moments, most of us do recognize the team. We know that whatever accomplishments we achieve, we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and there are a great many people who help us to accomplish the things we do. Let us pray that, even in the difficult moments, we will always recognize the importance of the team.

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