I recently read an article on the Military.com website about a fatal parachute accident. It was an unusual type of accident and I only know of a few other times that it has happened and in every case someone has died – except one time. That time I was the one involved and amazingly I survived. It was a miracle.
We made a low altitude jump one day in Texas and the paratrooper in front of me tripped as he was exiting the plane. I was rushing out the door an instant later and somehow I went through the lines of his parachute as it opened. i was hopelessly entangled in his chute. As both chutes opened, his chute was always lower and captured enough air that to cause my chute to collapse and suddenly I was in free-fall rushing at the ground.
Each time as I fell, my chute would start to open as it became level with his And the partially open chute would slow me until his chute captured the air again. I was jerked around like a yo-yo — back and forth as we hurtled to the ground. I knew I had to escape the grip of his chute or I had almost no chance of surviving. I tried to force myself out of his chute until my hands were bleeding from the friction on his parachute lines. But I could not free myself.
Finally the hard Texas prairie was only feet away and I was once again in free-fall. But just before the ground my chute opened and I landed safely. It was a rough landing but I was alive. If the chute would have opened a second or two earlier, it would have collapsed again; and if it would have been a second later I would have crashed into the hard ground.
Some of my friends were already on the ground and watched my descent in horror. They ran to me exclaiming that it was a miracle that I was alive. You could see the faces of these men who had fought and watched men die in combat but were still shaken by this event. That was when the impact of it all hit me. I should have died.
Today as I reflect on that event many years ago, I truly realize that God gave me a gift. In fact every day that has followed has been a gift. Times are good and bad and I get upset when I have problems or things don’t go my way but I realize that being alive is so much more important and I probably should not even be here. I realize that every day is truly important. Most of all I realize that Every Day Is A Gift.