Crowds welcome Danville pilot home

January 25, 2009 3:08:41 PM PST
Thousands of people packed into downtown Danville Saturday to honor their hometown hero.

It was Sully's first time speaking in public and because the investigation into the captain's splash landing is on-going, there was little that he could say. But what he did have to say was more than enough for the thousand who came to welcome him home.

The ceremony was brief as the humble Captain "Sully" Sullenberger had requested.

"It's great to be home in Danville with our neighbors and friends," he told the crowd.

Capt. Sully Sullenberger had few words for the thousands who came to see him.

But on Saturday it was not about what he had to say, it was about what he did on January 15th.

"We were simply doing the jobs we were trained to do. Thank you," he said to the applause of thousands.

Sullenberger moved to the small East Bay City of Danville 13 years ago, where he and his family live a very ordinary life.

On Saturday it was just the opposite. When Sully waved the crowd waved back.

"Why wouldn't you want to take part in something like this in our home town? This is where we live and we're very, very proud of him," said Danville resident Cathy Gonzales.

Pride spills over Danville's community square into the streets where only well wishes are felt from those who watched Sully land safely in the Hudson, saving the lives of 155 people.

"I'm so excited about him that I want him to run for president in 2012. Because he'd be a great commander in chief the way he landed that plane," said Alamo resident Susan Fleming.

"It's not often communities get local heroes and when we do get them, we have to come out and recognize them and show them we appreciate what they did," said Danville resident Errol Johnson.

Errol Johnson will go to almost any length to support people he believes in. He was in Washington D.C. for the inauguration and now he is back home to honor one of his own.

But, for Sully's wife, he is the same man she has always known.

"I knew when I married Sully, the one thing for sure was that he was the most honorable man I knew. I have always known him to be an exemplary pilot. I knew what the outcome would be that day because I knew my husband," said Lori Sullenberger.

And it is Lori Sullenberger's husband who is now looking forward to leading the quiet life he had before January 15th.

Sully spoke for about 30 seconds Saturday. He is expected to give a more in-depth and detail interview next month on 60 Minutes.