Charles Plumb was a US
Navy jet pilot in Vietnam.
After 75 combat missions, his
plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.
ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.
He was captured
and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison.
survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from
One day, when Plumb and his wife were
sitting in a restaurant,
a man at another table came up
"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.
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
Plumb says, I kept wondering what he had looked like
in a Navy uniform:
a white hat; a bib in the back; and
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
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.
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.
called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life
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,
compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize
people who pack your parachutes.
I am sending you this
as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my
And I hope you will send it
on to those who have helped pack yours!
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding
jokes to us without writing a word.
Maybe this could
When you are very busy, but still want to keep
in touch, guess what you do --
you forward jokes.
to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still
important, you are still loved,
you are still cared for,
guess what you get? A forwarded joke.
So my friend,
next time when you get a joke,
don't think that you've
been sent just another forwarded joke,
but that you've
been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your
wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack