In Retrospect

On Jan. 15, 2009, Gerry McNamara was on US Airways Flight 1549 that ditched in the Hudson River. Here is his account of the event … and our Words for the Week.

Among other things, he said, “There is a great deal to be learned including [from this experience]: Why has this happened to me? Why have I survived and what am I supposed to do with this gift?

“For me, the answers to these questions and more will come over time, but already I find myself being more patient and forgiving, less critical and judgmental.

“For now I have four lessons I would like to share:

“1). Cherish your families as never before, and go to great lengths to keep your promises.

“2). Be thankful and grateful for everything you have, and don’t worry about the things you don’t have.

“3). Keep in shape. You never know when you’ll be called upon to save your own life, or help someone else save theirs.

“4). When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when you’ll end up in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and pajamas and of absolutely no use to yourself or anyone else.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Don’t count the days, make the days count! — Muhammad Ali

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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6 Responses to In Retrospect

  1. When faced with a grave decision,
    make it fast, don’t deviate,
    and don’t subject it to revision,
    for he is lost who hesitates.
    The quick and decisive action
    of a frankly mediocre plan
    is the path that leads to traction
    in which the ‘only fair’ comes grand.
    Perfection is a vain chimera
    and to great a load to tote
    when the day devolves to terror
    and the enemy has a vote.
    So onward, quickly, do your stuff
    in the faith your skill will be enough.

    What saved Flight 1549 was Capt. Sullenberger’s skill, and his quick and decisive adoption of the plan to ditch in the Hudson. He didn’t use hope as a strategy and try for a runway, and he didn’t look back.


    • Make a decision and stick with it. That’s skill in action. Great to hear from you, always!


      • I learned to fly at 16, and that principle was really hammered into my brain.

        I did have cause to use it, when I flew a light aeroplane through a set of 250,000 volt main transmission lines, which experience, some say, gave me a truly electric personality.

        The aeropane, though badly damaged, remained fyable, and could be landed. Rather interesting, with no windshield, one working brake (one steers this kind of aeroplane on the ground through differential braking), and the pilot concussed, and with his throat cut.


      • Amazing story. Reminds me of a quote I shared today: “Wisdom comes from experience, either the experience of others or of oneself. And to let experience do its work, a person has to be open to receiving the lessons that it has to teach.” – Henry Cloud


  2. Bruce says:

    Hi Joe. I remember that flight that landed on the Hudson River. The pilot, Sully Sullenberger, did one hell of a job landing the aircraft in the river. He is a former military pilot, and the military teaches it’s personnel to be self disciplined and to remain calm in a difficult situation. Sullenberger is a perfect example of this.

    I understand the perspective of Gerry McNamara. Why has this happened to me ? Why have I survived, and what do I do with this gift ? As you know, I had a NDE over 40 years ago. I was electrocuted, and my body died. Then I came out of my body, and somehow, my spirit was still alive. I was still aware and had consciousness. I’ve asked myself the same questions. Why did this happen to me ? Why did I survive, and what do I do with this knowledge now ?

    I kind of placed this experience on the shelf for many years, but I’ve never ever forgotten my experience. I remember my NDE like it occurred yesterday. Shortly after I retired, I had the feeling that I should be paying more attention to my spiritual side of life. I understand much more now about my experience, than I did before. I know this is a very special gift, and I have a very special insight. This experience occurred when I was in my late twenties, and I know it wasn’t my time to leave my human experience yet. It just wasn’t my time . I recall Jesus saying: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. As soon as I came out of my body, I felt completely free. I know the truth, and I am free. We are all human, and we are imperfect creatures. We aren’t expected to be perfect in our human lives. We are expected to do the best we can. Making mistakes is part of the learning curve of life. We should try to learn something positive from a negative experience. Fortunately, as we grow older and mature, we generally become wiser. As we become wiser, we should embrace the wisdom we encounter. This will teach us to learn the true meaning of our human experience, and when we die a physical death, there is no reason to be fearful. Because we will move on to the next phase of our existence. Our spirits are eternal, and they will never die or cease to exist. As we leave our human bodies behind, we will be going “home”.



    • Amen! Reminds me of a quote I shared this morning, “Wisdom comes from experience, either the experience of others or of oneself. And to let experience do its work, a person has to be open to receiving the lessons that it has to teach.” – Henry Cloud


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