Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet 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 said, "I
kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a
bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. 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 at 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 they need to make it through the day. He
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 people who pack
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing
my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped
This is Rex Barker C.S. (Cruising the Skies) wishing you sunny skies