2009 Sully Sullenberger performs Miracle on the Hudson On this day in 2009, a potential disaster turned into a heroic display of skill and composure when Captain Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III safely landed the plane he was piloting on New York City’s Hudson River after a bird strike caused its engines to fail. David Paterson, governor of New York at the time, dubbed the incident the “miracle on the Hudson.” Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot with decades of flying experience, received a slew of honors for his actions, including an invitation to Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration and resolutions of praise from the U.S. Congress. About a minute after taking off from New York’s La Guardia Airport on January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 collided with one of the aviation industry’s most threatening foes: a flock of geese. Crippled by the bird strike, both engines lost power and went quiet, forcing Captain Sullenberger to make an emergency landing. When air traffic controllers instructed the seasoned pilot to head for nearby Teterboro Airport, he calmly informed them that he was “unable” to reach a runway. “We’re gonna be in the Hudson,” he said simply, and then told the 150 terrified passengers and five crew members on board to brace for impact. Ninety seconds later, Sullenberger glided the Airbus 320 over the George Washington Bridge and onto the chilly surface of the Hudson River, where it splashed down midway between Manhattan and New Jersey. As flight attendants ushered passengers into life jackets, through emergency exits and onto the waterlogged wings of the bobbing jet, a flotilla of commuter ferries, sightseeing boats and rescue vessels hastened to the scene. One survivor suffered two broken legs and others were treated for minor injuries or hypothermia, but no fatalities occurred. After walking up and down the aisle twice to ensure a complete evacuation, Sullenberger was the last to leave the sinking plane. In October 2009, the now-famous pilot, known to his friends as “Sully,” published a book about his childhood, military background and career entitled “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters.” He retired from US Airways after 30 years in the airline industry on March 3, 2010, and has since devoted his time to consulting, public speaking and advocating for aviation safety. 1870 First appearance of the Democratic donkey On January 14, 1870, the first recorded use of a donkey to represent the Democratic Party appears in Harper’s Weekly. Drawn by political illustrator Thomas Nast, the cartoon is entitled “A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion.” The jackass (donkey) is tagged “Copperhead Papers,” referring to the Democrat-dominated newspapers of the South, and the dead lion represents the late Edwin McMasters Stanton, President Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of war during the final three years of the Civil War. In the background is an eagle perched on a rock, representing the postwar federal domination in the South, and in the far background is the U.S. Capitol. Four years later, Nash originated the use of an elephant to symbolize the Republican Party in a Harper’s Weekly cartoon entitled “The Third-Term Panic.” The cartoon referred to the disparaging response by The New York Herald to the possibility that Republican President Ulysses S. Grant might seek a third-term. The New York Herald is depicted as a donkey wearing lion’s skin labeled “Caesarism.” This bogus lion is frightening several timid animals identified with the names of opposing newspapers, such as The New York Times and The New York Tribune, while a berserk elephant, labeled “Republican vote,” is tottering above a chasm labeled “Chaos” as it tosses to the right and the left the few remaining platform planks holding its weight. The caption of the cartoon reads: “An Ass having put on the Lion’s skin, roamed about the Forest, and amused himself by frightening all the foolish Animals he met with in his wanderings.” 1933 The utopian Amana colony embraces capitalism After nearly a century of cooperative living, the utopian Amana colonists of Iowa begin using U.S. currency for the first time. The wide-open spaces of the West have always appealed to visionary reformers attempting to start new societies. Among others, the Mormons in Utah, the Hutterites in South Dakota and Montana, and the Swedenborgians in California all moved West for the same reason: cheap land and freedom from interference. Most reformers moved west after the Civil War, when travel became easier and the threat of Indian resistance was declining. As with the Mormons, the Amana colonial movement began in New York. Christian Metz, taking his cue from the writings of 18th century German mystics, established the group in 1842 on 5,000 acres near Buffalo, New York. Metz and his followers were similar to the Mormons in their rejection of the selfish individualism and dog-eat-dog competition of capitalism in favor of a more cooperative economic system. They isolated themselves from national and global markets and built a largely self-sufficient means of meeting their agricultural and material needs. Barter within the community helped them avoid using American currency. The community’s agricultural and craft operations grew so quickly that the members soon found they needed more land than was cheaply available in New York. Like many of other land-hungry Americans, they looked westward. In 1855, the first members began setting up a new colony in Iowa called Amana, purchasing 30,000 acres of contiguous land as a base for their agricultural and craft operations. Amana (located near modern-day Iowa City) flourished in the decades to come. By the turn of the century, the colonists had built seven largely self-sufficient villages with farms, stores, bakeries, woolen mills, wineries, furniture shops, and the other necessities of independent living. The Amana community thrived for nearly 80 years, but its isolation from the rest of the world inevitably began to wane during the 20th century. In the early 1930s, the colony experienced severe economic problems, in part due to the Great Depression. The people voted to abandon their communal life in 1932, and they reorganized the colony on a capitalist basis with each member receiving stock in a new community corporation. The people of Amana began using American currency in January 1933. Although it violated the original precepts of their founders, the decision to bring Amana into the national marketplace actually saved the community. Today, the Amana colony is the center of a thriving business empire of woolen mills, meat shops, bakeries, and wineries. Though its original vision is no longer the same, visitors to the colony will still find a communal society dedicated to preserving many elements of Old World life and craftsmanship.