New Heathens

Actually, It Wasn’t That Bad!

"What was it like?" I yelled at Julian Walters, wrapped in a thick beige blanket, walking with four police officers in zero degree weather from the ferry terminal that served as a rescue station to a waiting bus. The US Airways jet Walters was on had just crashed into the freezing Hudson River and he, along with the other 154 people on board, survived.

"Actually," he yelled back, "It wasn't that bad!"

With that I busted up, giggled hysterically. As did a couple other reporters around me. So many times the Big Story is awful, unthinkable, tragic. Most times when I see other reporters, we're solemn. Pleased to see each other, but conscious of the fact that our meeting was prompted by death. When I got the call just after 3:30 p.m. that a commercial jet went down in the river, my bones ached at the grim thought of how many people might have died.

I couldn't contain my elation when I realized that nobody did.

"Wasn't that bad!" Well duh!

It was like a party out there today.

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