Twenty Five Years Ago Today I Had Forty Minutes to Live

July/19/2014 5:34AM
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Twenty five years ago today  I was aboard UA232 with my headphones on listening to music when there was what seemed like an explosion in the rear of the plane. I switched my channel to the one that allowed you to listen to the cockpit conversation. I heard the captain tell the tower we had lost all hydraulis. I’m not a pilot but I knew that meant we were pretty much doomed. You can’t keep a DC-10 in the air without hydraulics.

Captain Al Haynes and a pilot passenger, Denny Fitch and the rest of the men in the cockpit did, and tried to land us on a runway in Sioux City Iowa. For forty minutes we flew in circles with only the engine thrusters and they did line us up with the runway. They almost got us down. But, we stalled and the right wing dug in and we cartwheeled onto our back and broke in 5 pieces.

Over hundred of my fellow passengers died that day. Another hundred suffered terrible injuries. Some of us walked away physically unscathed, but mentally never the same.

I have awakened every day for 25 years and thought I was somehow spared by God and thanked him for giving me this time. I try hard never to find any reason to let the first negative thought cross my mind. I try to leave that to those who don’t know that today could be your last day on this earth. Aches and pains, at my age I have many.   Sadness, I’ve lost family and friends over this time. But, for me every day is a bonus.

Work was a big priority for me. Not so much after that day in 1989. Family, became number one. Being a better person was a mission. Smiling more and being angry less was high on the list.

As the anniversary approached, the media began to seek survivors to interview on TV or for print media. I don’t choose to participate, but I don’t begrudge those who do. It’s my personal choice that the families of those who didn’t survive don’t need to see me talking about my good fortune.

I write this to you, the reader. Maybe I can give you something without your having to suffer through my ordeal. Life is short, delicate, and precious. Treat it accordingly.

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