ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–On Thursday afternoon, Jan. 15, U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport bound for Charlotte, N.C., and almost immediately lost both engines due to what apparently was a collision with a flock of birds. As a result, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
Remarkably, every person on board was rescued. About half of the passengers sustained minor injuries and a flight attendant suffered broken bones.
The following is how reporter Michael Clancy summed up the drama in a report carried on www.nbcnewyork.com:
“All of the passengers survived, according to initial reports thanks to the expertise, bravery and cool of the pilot, Chesley B. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger III, a hero whose calm saved 155 people, including a little baby, from an icy and fiery death in what could only be called a miracle.”
Captain Sullenberger is being heralded a hero, and well he should be. Every news report underscores that it was Sullenberger’s actions in the midst of a grim situation that saved the lives of all the passengers on board the disabled Airbus 320 — the manifest included a little baby.
In a few weeks, perhaps months, it is likely that you and I will forget all about Flight 1549 and the heroics of Sullenberger. However, I am quite confident the passengers that lived through the potentially fatal situation, along with their families, will never, ever, forget the man that saved their lives.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, ages and from all walks of life. Many of them save a life — and there are times they do so at great risk to their own lives.
When I read the online report of the emergency landing of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in which he included the detail about “a little baby” being saved, I immediately began to think about heroes who give themselves to save babies — unborn babies.
On Jan. 22, many will pause to remember the Supreme Court’s decision 36 years ago in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal throughout the United States. In light of this infamous anniversary, allow me to make mention of unsung heroes who save babies’ lives.
Every woman who carries a baby to term, despite the fact the pregnancy was “unplanned,” is a hero in my book. In a culture that encourages abortion of all such pregnancies, it takes great courage to keep a so-called “unwanted” child.
I consider couples who choose to carry a high-risk pregnancy to term to be heroes. Many in this situation find themselves pressured by medical professionals — even family — to terminate the pregnancy. The faith required to press on, in spite of the fact the baby might be less than perfect, is indeed heroic.
I also consider every woman who is willing to allow her “unplanned” child to be adopted to be a hero. It takes incredible maturity and commitment to endure pregnancy and the difficulty of childbirth, only to allow someone else to rear your child. A woman who places her baby with someone else better equipped to parent the child reveals a level of selflessness that few in our culture can even comprehend.
Couples who adopt children are also heroes in my book, especially those who adopt multiple children. To commit to the care of a child — for life — requires sacrifice on so many levels. My hat is off to adoptive parents.
Couples who adopt special-needs children are in a class all by themselves. Perhaps we should call them super-heroes. The level of commitment and selflessness required is simply incomparable.
I also consider physicians who refuse to perform abortions to be heroes. The pressure doctors’ face from members of their profession to practice abortion is great. Additionally, the monetary gain is also very lucrative. For a doctor to say no to abortion in the current culture takes great conviction.
Captain Sullenberger, the pilot of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, is being heralded as a hero and he should be lauded for his actions. However, every person who rejects abortion, in the midst of our current culture of death, and gives an unborn child the opportunity at life is a hero in my book.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.