Town gives hero's welcome to US Air pilot

January 24, 2009 5:00:37 PM PST
The pilot who safely landed a US Airways jetliner in the Hudson River says he was only doing his job.Captain Sullenberger's neighbors predicted that he'd be very uncomfortable in the spotlight at today's ceremony. You know what, they were right.

On Saturday he said his first few public words. It was brief but it spoke volumes about the type of man that he is.

Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger had to wait for the chanting to die down before he spoke for the first time publicly since he maneuvered Flight 1549 into the Hudson River.

"Circumstance determined that it was this experienced crew that was scheduled to fly that particular flight on that particular day," he said in brief remarks to the crowd.

"But I know I can speak for the entire crew when I tell you we were simply doing the job we were trained to do."

The town's mayor says Sullenberger is a modest man who wanted this to be short and low key.

Not exactly easy for his friends and neighbors in the San Francisco Bay area suburb to do.

At the hero's homecoming, Sullenberger was presented with so many plaques, honors and gifts that he'll need help getting all of them home.

He was praised for his exceptional skill and cool head in landing the crippled jet liner January 15th.

"..Not a single person died, not a single person was critically injured. Because of his actions 155 Americans are safely home with their families today," (D) Rep. Jerry McNerney said.

His wife Lorraine says his courage and leadership is exactly why she married him.

"I knew when I married Sully was that he was the most honorable man I knew. I have always know him to be an exemplary pilot. I knew what the outcome would be today, because I knew my husband," his wife Lorraine said.

About 3,000 people gathered under drizzly skies in the town square to welcome Sullenberger home. The lawn was festooned with American flags, a marching band played patriotic music and some people held signs with messages including "Way to Go" and "Sully, Danville's hero."

Next month Captain Sullenberger plans to speak more in depth about what happened on Flight 1549.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick

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