You can do a lot if you’re properly trained …
THE AGE Editorial: TWO of the most overused words in the English language have to be “hero” and “miracle”.
So devalued have they become, in their commonplace application to everything from newborn babies to tennis players, let alone firemen who rescue cats up trees, they have all the grammatical purchasing power of Zimbabwe’s new 100 trillion dollar note.
In truth, there are almost as few genuine heroes in the world as there are actual miracles – those moments when fate, time and circumstance combine to cheat the inevitable and create the incredible.
It is all the more remarkable, therefore, that at the end of last week, within 24 hours, two men on opposite sides of the world entered the pantheon of heroes – those who, without equivocation, are absolutely deserving of that description and will always be remembered because of it.
In Canberra, on Friday morning, Trooper Mark Donaldson of the Special Operations Task Group, received the first Victoria Cross awarded in 40 years.
This award was for his bravery in the dustbowl of Afghanistan on September 2, when he exposed himself to Taliban fire to divert attention from wounded soldiers, and then dashed 80 metres to rescue an injured interpreter and carry him to safety.
This sort of courage speaks for itself.
Earlier, on a chilly afternoon in New York City, Captain Chesley Sullenberger managed to land his stricken US Airways Airbus A320 on – as distinct from in – the Hudson River. All 155 people on board survived.