The Miracle on the Hudson
The Miracle on the Hudson
I’ve been contemplating the recent emergency landing of the
US Air jet into the Hudson River. I was
initially amazed with the pilot’s ability to save the 155 passengers on
board. But during the past 2 weeks I
sensed that I was missing a larger perspective regarding the importance and
significance of this event.
The world’s economy remains in a state of uncertainty. While I am extremely fortunate with an
adequate income, I recognize that others remain and will enter dire straits –much
of which I cannot possibly understand. I
believe that many of us want to help others and the economy at large, but have
no idea what action to take. I also fear
that many are waiting for the government to solve the problem and will
ultimately become disappointed with the actual value delivered. My final concern is where people place their
faith –on money, other people, jobs, etc.
Now let me explain why I am randomly discussing a plane
crash and the economy. As I understand,
the plane had just lifted from the ground with the co-pilot in control. The plane unpredictably hit a flock of bird
that caused an engine to explode into flames.
The pilot responded by taking control, announcing to the passengers the
situation, and guiding the plane gently into the river.
Much like our economy, no one was expecting the engine to
explode. Some declare that the economy’s
situation was predictable. I
disagree. Just like the pilots may have
been able to see the birds, I anticipate that they did not expect the destruction
of a core component that enables their craft to operate. I believe that we need to respond much like
the pilots –assess the situation, be genuinely honest with everyone, and focus
providing the best long-term solution.
Now is not a time to worry if people’s feet will get wet and cold, that
some luggage will be lost, or that a plane will be damaged beyond repair.
I also believe that we should respond like the people
surrounding the area. The Hudson had
numerous ferry boats performing various activities. As the plane descended, the captains of the
boats did not wait for orders or wait for the coast guard to help. They turned their ships to serve in any way
they were able. One of the first boats to
arrive was captained by a 20 year old female who was able to immediately offload
the passengers. Kudos to this individual who did not wait for authorization or
acceptance from others, but simply reacted with a serving heart.
Finally, we should respond much like the passengers when the
pilot announced to brace for a crash landing.
Every article that I read relayed the passengers’ response was to
pray. Often, we demand the worst of
times before we realize how vulnerable we are and that we need to rely on
something much greater than us. The
passengers also celebrated as they stepped on the wing with their feet soaked
in frigid water. They recognized that
while life is not perfect that they were alive.
We are in troubled times that economists believe will
continue to worsen for about a year. And
even after the economy begins to turn, we will face several years before normalcy
returns. We need to respond similarly to
the people in and around US Air flight 1549.
Recognize that tough times are ahead, don’t wait on the government, do
whatever you can to help others and pray.
While we are not in the best of times, we are not in the
worse. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) measures
the total amount to goods and services produced in the nation and the primary
indicator that relays our economy’s health.
The GDP fell an annualized rate of 3.8% during the 4th
quarter of 2008. When the average rate
is positive 3%, that indicator sounds horrible.
But, consider the Carter years when GPD fell 4.9% during the 4th
quarter of 1981 followed by 6.4% in the 1st quarter of 1982. The media is causing us to believe that the
sky is falling and only the government can save us. But don’t assume the whole story is always
presented. We’re not in good times, but it will turn. Just respond like those involved in the
Miracle on the Hudson.
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