voa慢速英语:The Rise of a Folk Hero Who Landed on a River

发表时间:2009-01-30内容来源:VOA英语学习网

HOST:

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA special english.

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I'm Doug Johnson. This week on our program:

We have new music from Anya Marina …

And a question from Russia about VOA's former jazz host Willis Conover …

But first, a report on that hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his crew.

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Chesley Sullenberger

HOST:

"The Ballad of Casey Jones" is a folk song about a train engineer who saved the lives of his passengers in a wreck. The only one who died – and this is a real story from nineteen hundred -- was Casey Jones. Future generations may sing about the "hero on the Hudson" -- the pilot who saved his passengers when he crash-landed on a river. Except this hero lived to tell about it. Katherine Cole has more.

KATHERINE COLE:


Call it a crash-landing, a ditching, a splash-down, or a nicer name. Flight attendants tell what to do "in the event of a water landing." Passengers often pay no attention to those safety directions before a flight. They might see little reason to. But more of them must be listening now, after a water landing that will surely be remembered in the history books of flight.

On January fifteenth, the engines of a US Airways plane lost power shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. The pilot reported a double bird strike -- a rare event where birds enter both engines.

It happened so early in the flight, at a level of about nine hundred meters, that the crew had little time to decide what to do. Captain Chesley Sullenberger decided against landing at a small airport nearby or returning to LaGuardia.

Instead, he and co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles and their three flight attendants prepared for a water landing. Captain Sullenberger carefully and smoothly guided the Airbus jet into the Hudson River. People watched from skyscrapers overlooking the near-freezing water.


The passengers and crew got onto the wings as water entered the plane and the aircraft floated downriver. Boats quickly came to the rescue of all one hundred fifty-five people on the flight. Captain Sullenberger walked through the plane twice to make sure everyone was off.

On January twenty-fourth, the pilot known as "Sully" was honored in his hometown of Danville, California. He told a crowd of thousands that he and his fellow crew members were just doing the job they were trained to do.

The former Air Force pilot had his fifty-eighth birthday a week ago. He has been flying for more than half his life and was unusually well prepared for the events that day in New York. For one thing, he is good at handling a powerless aircraft. He is a glider pilot in addition to flying big jets. But Chesley Sullenberger is also an expert on air safety, including accident investigations, and even has his own consulting business.

Willis Conover

HOST:

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Russia. Alexander Kuzin wants to know about Willis Conover's jazz programs that were heard for forty years on VOA. Willis Conover was not a musician. But his expert knowledge of the music and its performers helped make jazz an international language.


WILLIS CONOVER: "Time for jazz. Willis Conover in Washington, D.C with the Voice of America Jazz Hour."


Willis Conover considered jazz the music of freedom. He thought it could help people express their lives, and help them stand a little straighter.

During the period of the Cold War, an estimated thirty million people in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union listened to him on the radio.

At that time many communist governments banned jazz. One jazz writer said Willis Conover and his radio programs did more to end the Cold War than all the presidents put together.

Willis Conover was born in Buffalo, New York, in nineteen twenty. He began working for small radio stations in the state of Maryland. He heard many kinds of jazz performed during the nineteen forties in Washington D.C. He became friends with many performers and helped organize concerts. But he wanted to be able to play the jazz he loved on his radio show without any of the restrictions of commercial radio.

Later he learned that the Voice of America wanted to start a jazz program. It was the perfect job. His "Music USA" program went on the air in January of nineteen fifty-five. He continued to broadcast on VOA until not long before his death in nineteen ninety-six, at the age of seventy-five.

Here is a nineteen sixty-eight recording of Willis Conover and the jazz great Louis Armstrong.


WILLIS CONOVER: "Louis?"

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: "Yeah, daddy, what you say there?"

WILLIS CONOVER: "Happy when you're here."

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: "Well you know, it's always a good chat when we meet. You know, we dig so much in music. And you know so much about all these cats that plays good music, you know."

WILLIS CONOVER: "I learned it all from you like everybody else."

Willis Conover once said Louis Armstrong was the heart of jazz and Duke Ellington was its soul. Here he is with the Duke in nineteen seventy-three.

WILLIS CONOVER: "Well, Duke, will you trust my taste to select records by you?"


DUKE ELLINGTON: "I certainly would because that's what they told me in the Soviet Union. They said, you know, your friend Willis Conover, he really plays your best things. I said, well, I was very happy to hear it."

Today, people who want to listen to tapes of Willis Conover have to go to College Park, Maryland. That is where they are stored as part of the National Archives. Many of the old tapes are in poor condition; workers are making digital copies.

To learn more about Willis Conover, listen at this time Sunday for the program PEOPLE IN AMERICA.

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