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Who Packed Your Parachute?


Charles Plumb was a U.S. 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 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 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 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 they need 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. e 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, and this year, recognize people 
who pack your parachute. 


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