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.