Jenna Bush Hager Skydives in Honor of Late 'Gampy' George H. W. Bush: 'I Jump for Him'
Jenna Bush Hager's jump comes alongside a sweet essay she penned in honor of her grandpa George H. W. Bush, who died in 2018 at 94 years old
The former first daughter's adventure was chronicled Thursday on Today, during which she said she was "honoring [Bush's] legacy by skydiving with the same team he jumped with: the Army's Golden Knights."
Bush Hager, 39, is referring to the jump Bush made to celebrate his 90th birthday back in 2014 — which she looks back on fondly in an essay posted to Today's website Thursday.
"He landed — a little hard! — but immediately thanked the man who led him safely into the arms of his wife and to the grandkids who rushed to him," she wrote. "And that was our Gampy: always thanking those who helped him, wanting always to be surrounded by family."
According to Bush Hager, her grandfather "had made the decision to jump as a tribute to his years as a pilot during WWII. In fact, the first time he jumped out of an airplane he was 19 years old, and it was 1944."
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"His plane was shot down over the Pacific, so he was forced to jump," she explained. "He hit his head on the plane but was later rescued. Two of the other members of his team didn't live. He told me once that he jumps for them. He jumped because he lived."
Bush Hager told her co-anchors virtually from inside the plane before her own jump that even though she was "horribly terrified" to do the skydive, "I am feeling so inspired by a 90-year-old man jumping out of an airplane."
"If he can do it, I can too," she added.
Subsequent footage then saw Bush Hager take the plunge from 10,000 feet in the air, landing at the National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
"[My grandfather] always said, 'Make sure you enjoy the game,' and I think there's no better way to enjoy it than by living like this," she said after landing safely. "I hope he would be proud."
RELATED VIDEO: 41st President George H. W. Bush Skydives for 90th Birthday
Bush's 2014 skydive marked his eighth jump, and came at a time when the former president could no longer use his legs due to a form of parkinsonism.
In her Thursday essay, Bush Hager recalled her grandpa once telling her, " 'Jenna, don't be scared to be in the ring, and don't forget to enjoy every moment — to live every moment. I miss being an active part of the game.' "
She concluded, "And so today, seven years after the last time he jumped, I jump for him. And I will jump because I'm in the game, enjoying every moment, and feeling closer to him in the heavens."