From Miracle on Ice to Miracle on the Hudson

Many of us remember the U.S. victory over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid.  It came at a good time.

We all know the story.  The 1970’s had been hard on America.  We were beginning to look like losers buffetted by economic uncertainty, high inflation and unemployment, the loss of prestige on the international stage, the looming threat of nuclear war . . .

We often point to Ronald Reagan’s election as where it all turned around, but that hockey game at the Olympics, a moment when Americans (college kids, no less) rose to the occasion against all expectations, seemed to be part of a comeback in the public consciousness.

I had a little of the same feeling this morning while listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio interview a guy who was seated on the exit row in the US Airways plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River.  He described a scene where people didn’t panic, but instead did what they needed to do in an orderly fashion to survive.  Everyone, from the pilot to the crew to the passengers to the ferry operators and other rescuers, worked together to bring life out of a deadly situation.

This is a proud moment.  It comes at a time when we’ve been smacked around by crisis and negativity.  We have had a feeling of looming disaster.  We walk around psychically hunched, braced for a hit.  The actions of everyone involved in the miracle on the Hudson shows that we may be better suited to weather a storm and to rebuild than we thought.

I didn’t have anything to do with this wonderful story, but these people are my countrymen.  I’m standing a little taller on the inside today.  This may be the start of our turnaround.


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