#1200 - The Parachute

Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, 
was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam.

After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a 
surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy 
hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist 
Vietnamese prison. 

He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from 
that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, 
a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew 
jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. 
You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. 

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. 
The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!"

Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, 
I wouldn't be here today."

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. 

Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in 
a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom 

I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 
"Good morning," "How are you?" or anything because, you see, I 
was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long 
wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the 
shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his 
hands each time, the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?"

Everyone has someone who provides what he or she needs to make 
it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many 
kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy 
territory -- he needed his physical parachute, his mental 
parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. 

He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss 
what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or 
thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has 
happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice 
for no reason. 

As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize 
those people who pack your parachute.

Thank you for inviting MountainWings in your mailbox. 
See you tomorrow.