"Miracle on the Hudson" pilot meets Pearl Harbor survivors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

"Miracle on the Hudson" pilot meets Pearl Harbor survivors

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger
PEARL HARBOR (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor nears and the nation remembers that day, it's different from hearing what happened from those who served in the war 73 years ago.

"It's hard to bring into words the things that we thought and the things that we went through. But I seen devastation I'll never forget," said Jack Holder, 92.

Holder was a Navy pilot in World War II. He, along with 14 other Pearl Harbor survivors, gathered at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Saturday night for the 8th Anniversary Gala.

It's an event that raises money for the non-profit organization to support its education programs, which reach 10,000 young people each year, and its Restoration projects, which brings history to life.

"These hangars that we're in, these survived the attack on Dec. 7th. This is where history started in World War II for the United States in the Pacific," said the museum's Executive Director, Kenneth DeHoff.

Survivors of that attack, and those who passed away, are called part of the greatest generation and are looked up to by many. But Holder says he was just doing his job.

"I had many of them tell me I'm a hero. But I don't look at it that way. We live in the greatest country in the world and I'm proud to help defend it," Holder said.

So if these men, part of the greatest generation, don't even consider themselves heroes, then who is?

Holder says the guest speaker that night…Captain Chesley B. “Sully" Sullenberger.

Sullenberger is the pilot who safely guided his US Airways plane to an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in 2009. The Airbus' two engines had lost thrust following a bird strike. He became internationally renowned and was ranked second in Time magazine's "Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009."

But Sullenberger, too, doesn't consider himself a hero.

"I'm very impressed, of course, by the greatest generation…it's almost December 7th and the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, so supporting the fundraising for the Pacific Aviation Museum is a very important thing to me," said Capt. Sullenberger.

Despite his notoriety, Sullenberger remains humble and encourages others to do the same.

“Being acclaimed around the world because of a certain particular event doesn't get you too far past your front door. You have to make it on your own past that point to earn your family's respect."

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