GLENN: Let me ask you this: What is a miracle? Is God a respecter of men? Does God answer prayers? Does God change the rules of the universe? What is a miracle?
Yesterday I came up to my office and I had been walking between our offices and by the time I had left one office and got into the next one and I come up, the people up on my floor said, "Glenn, there's been a plane crash." And I said, "Where?" And they said, "You can see it in the corner office in the back of the building." I can't tell you, I can't tell you what it's like to work in New York City. A week ago -- my office overlooks the Empire State building. I'm a few blocks away from the Empire State building and I can see it in one of our floor-to-ceiling windows. I can see the full impair state building, from the base to the top. That window -- my desk looks right at it, and last week somebody threw themselves out of a 70-story window, out of the Empire State building. So now every time I look up from my desk, I see that and for the last week or so I've been just thinking about that poor soul that was so desperate that threw himself out of the window. The other way you look at my desk, the other floor-to-ceiling window is looking at the Chrysler building, but two of the New York airports are on the other side of the island right behind -- the perspective is right behind the Chrysler building. So I'm looking at this sea of sky scrapers and I keep seeing these planes dodge between the buildings or what looks like are dodging between the buildings. They're quite a distance away. So every time I think of it, I think of the World Trade Center. In our studios we look right into Times Square and quite honestly every time I look at Times Square, I think of who are we because of all of the consumerism and everything else, what is happening. And the one bright spot is on the other corner of the studio that looks right out over the river, right over the Intrepid. It has been the only corner for me on this -- because we have a floor, and it's the only corner for me that has remained a real corner of hope because I see that aircraft carrier out there and I see -- I think of the great history of our military and our country and everything else. And they said, "You can see it in the back." And I said, where? They said, "You can see it right next to the Intrepid." And immediately I thought, "Oh, no." First of all I thought, was it terror, what happened, et cetera, et cetera. And it just, I just, I had just no more left in me. I think I might have said, "This city just never gives up." And I walk to the window and we see the -- we can see the plane, we can see the rescue happening. In fact, the picture that you see on the Drudge Report that's been there was sent from our office, and I tell you, I have to ask you what is a miracle, what is a miracle. I know what a mistake is. That was -- what is a miracle.
I think what we witnessed yesterday was a miracle. I don't know if you have looked and put all of the string of coincidence together. I mean, here's a group of people that get together, they hear a large bang. Put yourself in this seat. You hear a large bang, you look out the window, you see the engine flame out, and what goes through your mind right then? Have you ever been on a plane where you think -- where you just hit bad turbulence? I've been white knuckle, just holy cow, we're not going to make it. What are you thinking when the pilot gets on the speaker and says, "Brace for a rough landing"? What are you thinking when they say, "Underneath your seat is a flotation device." What are you thinking? Are you looking out the window? Are you looking out and seeing that eye level you are right -- you are looking possibly at people like me looking right at you out the window. Do you see the Hudson River getting bigger and bigger, the ice that's in it and you know possibly "I can't swim." If we do get out, how long can I last in that water? What is the pilot thinking as he's heading towards the George Washington bridge, the exact same route that was taken by the 9/11 hijackers? You don't fly over the George Washington bridge. You don't fly over the Hudson. This is the route -- the last time a 727 took this route, they ended in the World Trade Center. What were the people on the bridge thinking as they saw this plane slowly lumber 900 feet over the George Washington bridge? Probably the same thing I was thinking when I arrived in my office. What was the pilot thinking, knowing that his engines weren't working, wondering can I get my plane over the bridge? What was he thinking when he could see in the sky the Hudson or Teterboro, which is an airport in New Jersey? They were equal distance from each other. Did he choose, "I'm going to land this in the water because if I land it in the water and we crash or if I can't make it, it only kills us. If I try to make it to Teterboro and something happens, I crash into a mass of humanity. Was that what he was thinking? What was he thinking when he passed the bridge and he got over it and he looked down the Hudson and there weren't any boats on the Hudson? If you're anywhere near New York or if you're a pilot and you see the Hudson, you fly over it and you see it, there are always tugboats, there are always barges, it's always full of boats. Was he wondering before he could see the Hudson how many people will I kill on boats? What was everybody thinking when they hit the water, at a speed, it was like hitting dry ground? As you feel the jolt shoot through your body from your feet to your head? What were you thinking as your body pulls up against that seat belt and yet your body is flexible enough that you hit your head on the luggage compartment? What goes through your mind when you believe you're going to die? I can tell you I don't think that you were thinking about your political party. You weren't thinking whether you were from a red state or a blue state. "Oh, gee, if I just would have finished that project at work." "Oh, gosh. Well, thank goodness it's over because I've lost my job." I doubt you were thinking, "Oh, jeez, well, this will be blessed relief because I've got so many other problems and the world seems to be melting down." I dare say even Al Gore wouldn't have been thinking, "Oh, jeez, but who's going to fight global warming." You are not thinking about Barack Obama's inauguration.
Yesterday God sent us a reminder, a reminder of what's truly important. On the same path as the planes of 9/11, he reminded us yet again: It's about family. And that's really pretty much it. He reminded us that miracles happen. He reminded us that when everything is stacked against us, we can make it. Even coming at a dirty and grungy and mob body-filled water, you can survive.
Both engines blown out, hydraulic system on the plane impacted. The pilot makes that thing a lumbering giant, and he had no hydraulics and he's trying to hold on, he and the copilot. They missed the George Washington bridge by 900 feet. A plane falling from the sky, and everybody represented, from the 9-month-old baby to the 85-year-old grandma.
What was the string of coincidence, what was the string of coincidence? There were no boats or tugs. Why? Because it was cold. Just a few blocks up from the George Washington bridge, the river had just been closed. So there weren't any boats per se. That waterway is always full of tugboats and cargo ships. There was nothing, except ferries. You could land that plane anywhere. That plane came to a stop right by the Intrepid, which happens to be right by the ferry docks. There happened to be a ferry right there just about where the plane came to a dead stop. The ferry, all they had to do was just release the lifeboats and push them over.
It's been 45 years since a plane landed on the water and everyone survived. 45 years. I don't even listen to "Your seat can be used as a flotation device." Just slam into the water because you are all going to flip and die. I'll never say that again.
By the way, something else that was highly unusual. This pilot is not only somebody who teaches safety, who teaches emergency landing, not only has air hours like crazy, not only is a fighter pilot but he is one of the rare few commercial air pilots that not only have combat experience but also has his glider's license. I doubt he ever thought he would be gliding an Airbus, but he did.
Even though the water was choppy and white capped and 40 degrees and 18 degrees outside, somehow or another he landed it perfectly what are the odds that that happened? What are the odds that they hit a flock of geese, in fact not one but two, so big that it actually showed up on radar.
God is not a respecter of men. He loves all of us, no matter what we do, equally. We just have to be prepared. He asks us, be prepared. He asks us, pay attention. He asks us to do the right things. He asks us to think of others. Was the pilot prepared? Did the pilot do the right thing for others? Why didn't he try to land at Teterboro? Why did he try a risky water landing in comparison?
You could choose to look at this as just a, "Wow, what a lucky break these guys had, huh?" Or you could experience the miracle of seeing a wake-up call, of seeing a message being sent. It landed right on 56th street. 57th's where all the media is located. All of the media is located on 57th, West 57th. The plane stopped on West 56th. So there was plenty of media there to capture it.
By the way, the plane also stopped where the media was. Today they've had to drive all the way down to Battery Park to see it because it has drifted from here to the old World Trade Center site, just about a block away from Wall Street.
Sure, an engine can take one bird, an engine can take two birds, but an engine can't take a flock, and an engine certainly can't take two flocks. It's very rare to experience something like this. It was almost, for a plane, the perfect storm. And there were the odds, but the people were prepared, they did the right thing, and they brought it down. And everybody got off the plane safely.
God didn't change the world. God didn't change physics. He didn't freeze the water to stop the boats. He didn't lift it up with his hand and defy physics. Miracles aren't like that. That's why people don't believe in them anymore. Miracles really are a change in perspective. My perspective on this plane crash is that, look at how many things went right. My perspective was, thank goodness we had somebody who in a state of emergency didn't panic, didn't do anything but his job.
By the way, Sully, as he's known, the pilot, he was spotted at the airport last night a few hours after the crash. He was dry, he was back in captain's clothes cleanly pressed. He had his captain's hat on. He sat alone in a coffee shop. The people who saw him said, aren't you... he said yes. He went back to minding his own business. They said that he looked like he was just finishing up another ordinary day.