Friday marks the first anniversary of US Airways Flight 1549's landing on the Hudson River, a true story of heroism and defying the odds that lifted a public used to news of war, partisan feuding and economic collapse.
Last night, viewers got to relive what hero-pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, his crew and passengers on the flight went through in the moments leading to the miracle landing on the icy Hudson.
In "Brace for Impact," which debuted on The Learning Channel and is narrated by Harrison Ford, viewers get a cockpit-eye view from inside a helicopter with Sullenberger as he gazes over New York City and recalls the drama moment by moment.
As the helicopter passes over the George Washington Bridge, Sullenberger recalls realizing both engines were out due to a bird strike. With the region's terrain rising fast, the river is his only option.
"There is no other place to go," he says, recreating that fateful afternoon. "We are out of time. We are out of air speed. This is it."
Passengers interviewed for the documentary recounted the eerie quiet in the cabin after the engines lost power, their "numb helplessness" when it becomes clear a crash is imminent and the fervent prayers just before impact.
Near the documentary's end, Sullenberger and passengers discussed how the experience of flight 1549 caused them to reassess their own lives and nourished their faith in humanity.
Trying to understand the force of his own story, Sullenberger points out that the Hudson crash landing happened near the time of President Barack Obama's inauguration, when people were eager for change, hopeful and fed up with the past.
"This just added to that narrative," Sullenberger said.