Thank you so much to Jill from Made with Moxie for stopping by today to share her "thankfuls" with us. Jill has such a great big heart, tells it straight, but sweet and I am so happy to call her my friend in real life and lucky me she only lives a bit up the road from me! She is so very talented be it sewing, crochet, quilting, pattern making or bag making (incidentally there's a bag pattern giveaway going on right now!) But, today she is sharing a poignant story reminding us to take care and pay attention to those who surround us, even those we don't know...
Charlie Plumb was a farm boy from Kansas who joined the US Navy to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. He graduated from the Naval Academy and was one of the first pilots in the Navy Fighter Weapons School, now known as Top Gun. He got to fly the hottest plane in the Navy, the F-4 Phantom jet, from the USS Kitty Hawk in the Vietnam War. Charlie had over 100 landings on the carrier and flew 74 successful combat missions.
Charlie Plumb and his first squadron (photo credit)
Five days before he was due to go home and end his tour, Charlie headed out on his 75th mission. His plane was shot down near Hanoi. There he was taken prisoner, tortured, and remained a Prisoner of War for the next five years and nine months. Charlie was eventually freed and sent home.
Years later, when he and his wife were out to dinner, Charlie noticed a man who kept looking at him. The man finally approached and asked if he was Charlie Plumb. He told the man, that, yes, he was indeed Caption Plumb. This man went on to tell Plumb how he knew he flew fighters in Vietnam, was on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, was shot down, parachuted into enemy hands, and spent almost six years as a POW. Charlie was surprised the man knew all of this information and asked how he knew it all, to which the man replied:
I packed your parachute.
Parachute packer (photo credit)
During the Vietnam war, sailors on the aircraft carriers packed fighter pilot's parachutes by hand in the bowels of the ship. They spent hours folding and weaving silk panels just the right way into the fighter's packs. Charlie Plumb thought of the number of times he had probably passed this man on the carrier. How he had probably never even acknowledged this man, never mind gave him a hi, hello, or how are you doing? Because Charlie was a fighter pilot and this man had been just a sailor. Charlie Plumb had given no second thought to this man and could have cared less. Which leads me to ask you this:
Who packs your parachute?
Take some time to think about who you are passing by without a hi, hello, or how are you doing. Who is it in your life that keeps you afloat? Whose job is it to do something small that makes your life that much easier? Who keeps the copier full of paper and toner so you can breeze in, pop out a few copies and leave without incident? Who keeps your car's oil changed and in good repair? Whose pictures make you smile and laugh just when you need it? Who has done something for you without expecting anything from you in return? Who is the sailor in your fighter pilot life and have you thanked them lately?
It's the season of being thankful and sadly we forget to do it all year round. It's stories like Charlie Plumb's and Jane's Thankful posts that help to remind me to stop and say it to the people who matter in our lives. To take pause from our own fighter pilot lives and recognize the sailors in our every day.
Thank you, Jane for letting my stop by today. You're blog is one that I regularly read and you inspire me to be a better, more involved mother. Won't you please pop on over to my blog, Made with Moxie today? I'm thanking some of the sailors in my fighter pilot life.