Friday, January 16, 2009

the hero's dilemma

We sit in a boring administrative meeting watching the clock inch by
When the phone rings informing us a commercial plane has crashed into the Hudson River.
Everyone's hearts stop as we all take a collective silent gasp.
A few exit the meeting and come back with relief.
And within minutes we learn that everyone survived.
"That's one hell of a pilot," the woman says with such convincing authority.
After the meeting, I head to the Path train but am drawn by the show of it all.
The helicopters, the sirens, the quiet.
I switch directions and head towards the pier and join a group of concerned New Yorkers, gawkers, journalists...
I wonder if what I am doing is wrong or disgusting but I am compelled to see it.
When something happens in New York City, it hurts.
There;s a gut reaction and it dawns me why I have such a magnetic pull to this city.
We went through something together.
We survived something together and I was part of a people that pulled together.
When the city hurts, its people hurt and standing on that pier seeing all of the rescue boats and twinkling lights in the distance makes me feel alright again.
Immediately, the pilot is subbed a hero, and the next morning on the radio, people try to take this away from him.
"There were perfect weather conditions...there was no wind, I mean, I've seen the Hudson when it looks like the Ocean."
And I am stunned by people's immediate need to pull the hero off his platform.
The guy landed a plane on the Hudson River and no one was hurt.
Can we give the guy a break and perhaps a standing ovation?
Cynicism is poison.

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