October 23

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
—Psalm 27:1

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport on Flight 1549 when they struck a flock of large birds and lost power in both engines.

“It was the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I’ve ever felt in my life,” Sully said. “I knew immediately it was very bad.”

As he took over the controls from Skiles, his mind raced with the moment he saw the birds enter his screen, the noises they made on impact, the distance to reach an airport, and of course, the river below. The flight attendants, along with the 150 passengers were told to “brace for impact” as the jetliner angled down toward the Hudson River, relying only on gravity and Sully’s skills.

He miraculously managed to glide the aircraft safely onto the water. Within minutes, the crew helped their passengers out on the aircraft’s wings and first responders from New York City arrived quickly to rescue passengers and crew as the plane began to sink into the freezing water.

Regarding the first responders, Sully said, “Thank you seems totally inadequate. I have a debt of gratitude that I fear I may never be able to repay.”

There were two great dangers in this harrowing incident. The first was the possibility of a fatal crash. The second was people drowning inside or outside the plane. Sully avoided the first and first rResponders avoided the second.

All 155 lives were saved through quick response, skill, and providential grace.

Today, in your area of service, work and train hard, but always pray harder.

SAVIOR, keep my mind alert, my heart refreshed, my skills sharp, and my knees bowed.