WASHINGTON, DC – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a photo opportunity this afternoon with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of US Airways flight 1549 in her office in the Capitol. Below are the remarks of the Speaker, Captain Sullenberger, and Co-Pilot Jeffrey Skiles:
Speaker Pelosi: Good afternoon. You know, we have many exciting moments in the Congress of the United States. I can’t think of any that surpass what is happening here today when, as Speaker of the House, joining my colleagues – Congressman Miller, Congresswoman Tauscher, and Congressman McNerney – in whose district Sully lives – that we have the opportunity to welcome authentic American heroes. These are people who literally “walk on water” as far as I can see – who have saved lives, who have trained their whole lives for a particular task – done it very well for a lifetime, and then this one moment comes, and they met the challenge.
So, Sully, Co-Pilot Skiles – Jeff Skiles, and to your associates on the plane — the flight attendants – I am pleased to welcome you to the Capitol to express the appreciation of the American people for your heroism and just as a fan, ask you to autograph [laughter] – autograph my “People” magazine.
Captain Sullenberger: Madam Speaker, thank you very much; we are honored beyond belief. This has been an amazing experience. Just when we think that it can’t possibly get any more amazing, then it does. We are honored to be here, and we are looking forward to speaking with you today.
Speaker Pelosi: Thank you so much, and also I’m honored that Sully and Jeff and some of their associates this evening will be accepting our invitation to attend the President’s address to the joint session of Congress. That’s exciting for us as well. But to have these brave people there with us will make it an even more exciting evening. So thank you for being here. Thank you for accepting our invitation. And we look forward now to listening to what you have to say.
Captain Sullenberger: On behalf of my crew and the first responders in New York, we are so grateful for the outcome we had on January 15. I’ve been saying for some time now that Jeff and I feel like we were chosen by circumstance to be the temporary spokespersons for the entire profession, and we are determined to do the very best that we can and to make as much good come of this as we possibly can. So thank you for your recognition and for your thanks.
Co-Pilot Skiles: I’d like to say thank you, too – I mean this has been an amazing experience for all of us, particularly for simple people. But we do take our role of advocating for airline pilots very seriously, and I don’t know about the “walking on water part though” [laughter] – the Hudson River was pretty cold [laughter] – I would have rather stayed out of it. But thank you.