I Cried Watching 60 Minutes

He is now the sitcom dad he (and I) watched growing up in the fifties and sixties. He is the straight shooter. He is the role model.

I don’t often cry at 60 Minutes. I did tonight. This was the night of the Flight 1549 story as reported by the glasses wearing Katie Couric.

“I think, in many ways, as it turned out, my entire life up to that moment had been a preparation to handle that particular moment,”

Sorry crew members, it’s the Sully story now. You were just along for the ride.

“I made the brace for impact announcement in the cabin and immediately, through the hardened cockpit door, I heard the flight attendants begin shouting their commands in response to my command to brace. ‘Heads down. Stay down.’ I could hear them clearly. They were chanting it in unison over and over again to the passengers, to warn them and instruct them. And I felt very comforted by that. I knew immediately that they were on the same page. That if I could land the airplane, that they could get them out safely,” he remembered.

“But there was still a big if,” Couric pointed out.

“I was sure I could do it,” he replied.

Yes he was. No hyperbole here. Even when Katie asked him the obligatory prayer question Sullenberger didn’t bite.

“My focus at that point was so intensely on the landing,” he said. “I thought of nothing else.”

I watched the story upstairs before rejoining Helaine in the family room. We talked about the pre-1549 Sully. It wasn’t as cool to be him then.

sully.jpgIs he the nerdy dad? Pre-1549 did his girls cringe at his lack of style and modernity? Yes to both, right?

He is the sitcom dad he (and I) watched growing up in the fifties and sixties. He is the straight shooter. He is the role model.

Had I landed the plane and Sully was the one watching 60 Minutes I suspect he wouldn’t have been bawling. He is the opposite of effusively emotional.

When the plane came to a halt and the passengers had been safely evacuated it was he who walked the aisle, twice, to make sure everyone was really off-the-plane. We can’t even get school bus drivers to do that in Connecticut!

“Did you give yourself even a few seconds though to acknowledge that you had averted disaster?” Couric asked.

“No, because I hadn’t quite yet,” he replied. “And I had business to attend to. I had a job to do.”

Who plays him in the movie?

4 thoughts on “I Cried Watching 60 Minutes”

  1. I watched the 60 Minutes piece too. It’s clear that Sullenberger’s not only a hell of a pilot, but also a hell of a person.

    I remember another person who falls within the ranks of Sullenberger– Lenny Skutnik.


    (Here’s what Peter’s talking about, from Wikipedia:

    “Lenny Skutnik is most celebrated for an act of heroism following the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 on January 13, 1982 in the Potomac River, Washington, DC. At the time, Skutnik was a US government office assistant. During the rescue operation of passengers from the crashed plane, one passenger, Priscilla Tirado, was too weak to grab the line dropped from a helicopter. Hundreds of people were watching, including emergency services personnel, but only Mr. Skutnik was willing to risk his life. Skutnik saw the situation, and stripped off his coat and boots and, in short sleeves, dove into the icy water and swam out to assist her. He succeeded in getting Tirado to the river shore, from where Tirado was subsequently taken to hospital, saving her life.”


  2. I really enjoy reading your blog. I was turned onto it through the Webster Family. Just wanted to say that the crew was also on the CBS Morning show where Scully recognized he didn’t do it himself, but that the crew also played a huge role. It was tearful this morning too 🙂

  3. great entry, Geoff. I haven’t seen the interview yet, but I’m sure I’ll shed a tear, too. By the way–Mike Farrell will probably play him in the movie.

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