This was sent to me via email from my mom on February 4, 2002.

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. 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 your parachute. 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 pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us
without writing a word, maybe this could explain:

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch,
guess what you do - --you forward jokes.

And 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 if you get a joke, don't think that been
sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of
today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to
send you a smile.

Last Updated: 021702