January 16th, 2009
01:41 PM ET

Miracle on the Hudson – Boy, we needed that!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/15/newyork.crash.passengers/art.survivors.nydn.jpg caption="The New York Fire Department rescued passengers from the downed plane in the Hudson River."]

Dr. Gail Saltz
Psychiatrist and AC360° Contributor

2008 has been a dismal year for so many and 2009 is shaping up to be very difficult as well. Most people have been engrossed in the economic impact, which is huge. But what of the impact on the nation's psyche?

I have watched with great concern as we have been bombarded by “systems” not working. Whether it be financial institutions, corrupt politicians and businessmen, the failure of accountability for money, for military action, there has been a constant message that our system is broken, nothing works right, certainly not the way its supposed to.

And trust has been shattered by money mangers who absconded with others' money, by politicians who lied and cheated their constituents, by companies who put their own needs so before those of employees and stockholders that they were willing to devastate their victims.

When our national trust is so violated, the tenor of our people risks becoming cold, cynical and despondent.

The incredible story of the US Airways flight is that it is a shining example of just how well an American System can work.

There was skill, heroism, humanism, organization, use of incredible training and professionalism. Professionals in various arenas did a superb job, and people involved were kind to one another, helpful, caring deeply about their fellow man and willing to be brave to do so.

This is the America we have all been missing, this is the America we all want to see return.

That's why I see this as a real “shot in the arm” for our national psyche. We all really needed to feel there is someone you can trust, particularly each other.

This was no doubt a terrible event and a near tragedy which I hope, like everyone else will never happen again. But curiously it is also a boost for our nation’s mental health, an example that the system can work and that we are good competent people at heart who will help each other.

We all needed some optimism back. And the genuine heroism demonstrated in that rescue gave it to us.

Filed under: Airline Safety • Gail Saltz
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Frances, Montreal, Canada

    With all the gloom and doom going on in the world right now I found it very uplifting watching the miracle on the Hudson that took place yesterday. So many times, people forget to be thankful for what they have in life instead of what they don't have. It just goes to show that definitely there is a higher power watching over us. If anything, it gave me the feeling of hope that things will get better. Will miracles never cease to exist. These passengers and crew are living proof that miracles can and do happen no matter how bad things seem to be. Another miracle will occur next week when we see the first black man becoming President of the United States. What a great time for the United States of America. I haven't been this excited since the election of the first Catholic President, J.F. Kennedy.

    January 16, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  2. Alex (Aliso Viejo)


    January 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Teri at the beach

    Anderson – you are so right! We've all been sinking into a funk with our leaders showing up as corrupt, our trusted banks turning out to be greedy, sneaky, AND corrupt, and on and on.
    This event lets us know there are still good hearted folks out there that will do the right thing, act competently with grace under pressure, and disregard their own selfish interests in helping for the common good.
    Kudos to this pilot and all those on the Hudson yesterday who helped out.

    January 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  4. petalice

    The pilot and everyone who helped did an absolutely terrific job! Hats off.

    January 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  5. JC- Los Angeles

    After watching endless leaders, executives and politicians run our nation into the ground, perhaps our leadership should seek out Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger and speak with him about how best to obtain a soft landing.

    Wait, that would entail some intelligence.

    January 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm |