People are calling the pilot who landed the Airbus in the Hudson River a hero, and some are saying he should get a medal.
I don't think that landing the plane in the river makes him a hero. Frankly, I expect the pilots of any aircraft I ride in to have sufficient skills to land other than under perfect conditions.
Granted, landing a large jet on water took incredible skill, and I am in awe of that accomplishment. But it doesn't make him a hero. He did what he had to do, and was fortunate to have the experience and talent to pull it off.
What did make him a hero, I believe, is that he walked the length of the plane, twice, to ensure that all passengers were off. He was the last person to exit the plane. He put his life at risk to do his duty when he didn't have to. That made him a hero.
Chesley Sullenberger: True American Hero.