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McMahon: Into the sun

Who will be the first to breathe fresh air? Who will be the last rescued of the 33 Chilean miners who have been buried alive and remained alive for two unthinkable months?

Who among them will become the big celebrity? Who will be able to handle the unimaginable attention and wealth that awaits Wednesday’s rescue?

Yes, Wednesday. Even though the early estimates ranged from November through the Christmas holidays, this advanced rescue schedule is in great part due to the skill of a group of American engineers who have been at the mining site virtually since the beginning. But now, just one more day. And then 20 minutes. That’s how long it will take the rescue capsule — I’m proud to say is named Phoenix I — to be pulled 2,041 feet to the surface.

And after that 20-minute ride for each of them, life will never be the same. The remarkable brotherhood that lasted all these days will be over. The simple life in Copiapo, Chile, will be over. Privacy will be a thing of the past. For two months, these men have longed for the sun. Now, they must pray that they will be able to handle the exposure.