I Packed your Parachute
Charlie Plumb graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964. He earned his Navy Wings of Gold in 1966 and went on to fly the F-4 Phantom jet with fighter squadron VF-114. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and flew 74 successful combat missions over Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with five days before he was to return home, his plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. Plum ejected and parachuted down and into enemy hands, resulting in his capture and torture. He spent six years as a POW in North Vietnamese prison camps. 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 do 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!” Plum 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 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 say something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute.
– Author Unknown
A good analogy:
You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? You say because someone bumped into me! Wrong answer. You spilled the co f fee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s in my cup?” When life gets tough, what spills over? Is it joy, gratefulness, peace and humility; or anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions? You choose! Today, let us work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others.
-Author Unknown –
In the Book of Genesis, Chapter11, we have the story of the tower of Babel. People, without regard for God, decided they would build a perfect structure, with a tower to heaven. In response, God disapproved their arrogance and unwarranted self-confidence. He punished them, and frustrated their effort by making each one speak a different language, and scattered them all over the Earth. That story is the origin of the word “babble.” Turning away from God, with excessive pride in self, will always result in frustration and confusion.
Today, we have people, who without regard for God, are attempting, not to construct a perfect building, but to construct a perfect bureaucracy to satisfy everyone’s needs and wants. Should we be surprised that there is now a great deal of babble in our country? Does it look like that is any more possible than a tower to heaven? The obvious solution is to turn back to God, seek His counsel and humbly administer our country in accordance with His plan. Probably, much of the huge bureaucracy should be eliminated, and most decision making returned to individuals and families. That system is called “subsidiarity” and recognizes the rights and responsibilities of each person to direct their lives, and accept the consequences of their actions.
We are created as children of God, with equal dignity in His eyes. But He does not gift each of us with equal talents. We demonstrate our love and gratitude by using our gifts to help those in need. That means one-on-one when practical, and through cooperative efforts at the lowest level. At the judgement, when asked, “How did you help my needy ones?” I don’t think “Well I paid my taxes so the government could help” will be a very good answer. We continue to serve, but in a different way and at a different level of society.
We all have our own memories of Fourth of July celebrations over the years. Some are fond memories of childhood beach parties and cookouts and fireworks with family and friends. Some of our Chapter members have very different memories of that day spent in actual combat. And this year we are acutely aware of friends, relatives and neighbors deployed to war zones facing constant danger. As we meditate on all those thoughts, let us thank God for the blessings He has showered on us, and beg for His protection of our country, our citizens and especially our troops and sailors in harm’s way. The terrible ideologies and
misguided beliefs which have the world in turmoil are surely the work of the devil. Military arms can temporarily turn back the advocates he has converted in specific locations. But the only true victory has to be spiritual victory. The weapons in that fight are not bombs and bullets. As Christian Soldiers, we have prayer as our sword and virtue as our shield. Those are the weapons that must be brought to bear against the great Satan himself. And he must be attacked not only in the hot zones in the Mid-east, but in the hot beds of misinformation in our schools. In the arena of the lies and distortions in our national media. And against the seditious, traitorous, subversives embedded in our bureaucracies. So, as we rightfully enjoy celebrating this year’s Fourth of July, let us firmly resolve to answer our call to arms in the spiritual war. If we don’t win this one, the other wars won’t really matter. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
We humans are comprised of body and soul. And what makes us unique is that in our soul we have been given two special gifts: intellect and free will. The purpose of the intellect is to come to know God in such a way that we want to be united with Him. And the free will is to choose God above everything else. Always seeking to know His will and conform to it. Because of our weaknesses and confusion, God has given us directions to assist us in making right choices. We have the Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the personal teachings and example of Jesus.
To make it even more simple, We’re told to love God with our whole being, and love our neighbor as our self.
The hard part comes when we’re told that the definition of love in these commandments is self-sacrificial love.
We are to control and limit all the mental and physical desires that are part of this human life on Earth, so that we do continuously move closer to God. Like any good parent, God, our Father gives us leeway in our choices, as long as we stay within the limits. During this liturgical season of Lent, we should be in a period of spiritual training. Sharpening the intellect’s discrimination of good from evil, and exercising the will to strengthen it against temptations to disobey God or injure our neighbor. Practice using God’s law as the criteria in our personal daily choices, and in evaluating social and political events. We are responsible for our own decisions, and we are our brother’s keeper.
We will be judged on these matters. Not on our bank accounts or trophies.
E Pluribus Unum. Out of many one. The Great Melting Pot.
The key to the most successful, the strongest nation with the highest standard of living in the history of the world. But now, we’re under attack by Satan himself.
Over time he has distracted us from the necessary concept of “Unity” and fascinated our society with the pursuit of “diversity”. We’ve strayed from the admonition “United we stand, divided we fall.” If unity doesn’t matter, then loyalty doesn’t matter. We now have increasing lawless rioting claiming the shield of freedom of speech. Maybe worse than that we have numerous dissidents in our government who are undermining public confidence, creating disfunction in various parts of our bureaucracies. Some of these actions might be traitorous, many are seditious.
We who never stop serving are called again to fight these attacks on several fronts.
We have to support the rightful, legal members in government. We have to lead family, friends, and associates to the truth. And we have to employ the greatest weapon we have against Satan – prayer!! God is more powerful than Satan. We are not.
God bless America!
God, Country, Duty, Honor. Words that demand response. The response to each of those has to begin with Faith.
Faith in God has to be the bedrock for all our values and motives. As our Creator He instilled in every human some level of awareness of Himself, if only the recognition of a power greater than ourselves. Then we have to admit there must be a proper response in subordinating ourselves to that power. That response is to seek ever greater knowledge of Him.
That response is Faith and needs to be nurtured and expanded to form the basis of all our other knowledge and judgements. Faith is what we believe. Religion is how we live out that Faith. Country is a human device to facilitate
Peoples living together in mutual support. Countries are established by various methods. By ethnic groups or tribes, by geographic features, or commercial enterprise. To be successful the people of a country must have Faith in the country’s founding principles, and Faith in each other. Our country is defined by geography and based on a Constitution that accommodates multiple ethnic groups and beliefs. Our country is both fragile and amazingly resilient. It has become history’s most powerful nation with the highest standard of living in the world. So, now comes Duty. We in MOAA understand duty. At the bottom line, duty means putting others ahead of self. Its root is the commandment to love others. True love is self sacrificing, exemplified by Jesus sacrificing Himself for us. Our military service taught us about Duty. And that obligation did not end when we were separated from active status. As our country enters a new chapter in our political history, the call to Duty is as strong as ever. Duty to God, Duty to Country, Duty to each other. Therein is the source of Honor. We learned this in military service. Some of us learned earlier in the Boy Scouts. “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country……to help other people at all times…” We ask God to continue to bless each of us, bless our country, and bless our new administration.
Merry Christmas, and peace be with you. After months of turmoil and raucous verbiage, it’s time to slow down and focus on the larger, eternal perspective. We celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ, remembering the thousands of years the world awaited the Savior. We marvel at the generous forgiveness of God in sending the Son to atone for our sins.
And, secondly, we are reminded that Jesus will come again at the end of time to judge all of us, and
relegate us to our just reward, or punishment, for eternity. The awesome part of that is that we get to choose heaven or hell by the way we live. And it’s an open book test. Jesus has already given us the instructions, the guidance and even His personal example on how to live. If we believe in Him, and obey Him, no person or catastrophe can take away our choice. Because we are caring, responsible people, we tend to worry about a lot of things affecting our country and our world. That’s commendable. But we can’t let those things distract us from our primary mission. Everything else is collateral. With that understanding, we can relax and enjoy the promised peace.
May you have a Holy Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
I’m looking at the inspiring picture of George Washington kneeling in the snow praying.It reminds us of his devotion to God, his commitment to the battle for the founding of this country,and his concern for those joined with him in the Revolution.
We all would do well to follow his example as we enter a new year, with a new administration.Washington, and the other founding fathers won that war, and established a republic – “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” They gave us a system that allows political debate to steer the nation in meeting new challenges. It’s a system that allows adjustments as long as they stay true to the founding principles.
So now is the time to pray for the future of the Republic. Pray that we restore God to recognition in thepublic square, in our schools, and in our families. The next four years will be a revolution. Thankfully, our system provides the way for peaceful revolution. But it has to be accomplished with Faith. With faith in God, we can have hope.
Hope for His continued benevolence to this nation. With faith and hope, we can trust God. And with trust we are ready to obey Him.
As military men we can recognize that, in today’s world, America’s position is deteriorating strategically and tactically. As Christians we know the power of prayer. And we sincerely hope that international diplomacy will ease world tensions. And yet, as practical men we know there are circumstances that demand physical responses that are immediate and sometimes violent.
For instance, if someone is breaking into your house, you don’t call your Pastor. You call the police, and take what measures you have the resources to do. The better you have prepared for such an event, the better the resolution.
At this time in America we urgently need to pray for God’s continued protection. To pray for wisdom, strength and resolve in our national leaders. To insist on strengthening our armed forces. And to retake our educational system which is eroding the values and morals of the next generation of our citizens. A warship is no good without weapons, and weapons are of no use without an operational ship to take them into battle. A nation needs effective armed forces to give credibility to its diplomacy, and an informed, resolute citizenry able and willing to employ the military when necessary. Evil will prevail if enough good men do nothing. We are a fine group of veterans who enjoy the camaraderie and meals we share. But we are called to instruct and exhort our friends, our relatives, our neighbors and our politicians to come to the aid of their country. And we never stop serving.
We are warriors. Christian warriors in the service of God, and military warriors in the service of America. Never should we shrink from the duties of either of those callings. A strange malaise is permeating our culture. It starts with the admirable admonition not to offend others. As officers and gentlemen our prescribed demeanor is to be courteous and inoffensive to all – up to a point. As Christians we are called to be charitable and forgiving – up to a point. There is another dimension to our calling, to vigorously protect and defend our religion and our country against all attempts by anyone to overthrow them.
There are those today who are trying to eliminate our Christian religion from our public life. Some say we should have a secular culture with no public religion. But their secular atheism is itself a religion. And it poisons society, as we have seen in Communist and Socialist states. Worse than that, there are some world-wide forces who would like to impose Sharia law on us.
Our Christian and military culture does not require us to passively accept these threats in the name of political correctness. We have the right and the duty to defend our religious and political heritage, and pass it to our children and grandchildren. You can’t appease bullies, and you can’t compromise with evil. Let us pray, instruct, vote and revolt as necessary.
With our Fourth of July celebrations recalling our nations founding and the principles underlying our system of government, we do well to evaluate where we are, and where we’re headed. An honest look at the big picture of history shows that true socialism only works in two places: cloistered convents and monasteries. It has never worked for the general public in any nation. I submit that our country has already moved too far into socialism and is continuing in that direction at an alarming rate.
Secondly, we know that our wonderful armed forces properly have two roles. First, to be powerful and lethal enough to hopefully deter war. But secondly, if war is necessary, to win it as quickly and decisively as possible.
I submit that our forces are being dangerously denigrated, and used improperly. Reduced capability, inappropriate missions, and dangerous rules of engagement.
Why is this presented in the Chaplain’s Corner? Because this is an organization of patriotic veterans. Because we have joined together to continue to serve. Because our service will no longer be on the battlefield, and we need to redirect our efforts to public information, political action, and a lot of prayer. No politician, no diplomat, not even our beloved armed forces can overcome the evils that threaten us without the help of God.
To hell with political correctness and any other attempt to silence true patriots. We will continue to serve with our voices, and our votes, and our prayers. God bless America!!!