Jenna Bush Hager celebrated what would have been grandfather George H.W. Bush’s 97th birthday by jumping head first out of a plane.

The Today show co-host took the 10,000-foot plunge live on the air Thursday to continue the tradition started by the family patriarch. Bush first jumped out of a plane as a 19-year-old boy serving as a pilot in World War II. After his retirement, the former president celebrated every fifth birthday by skydiving. The last time he jumped was in 2014 on his 90th birthday. He died in 2018.

Hager said she was nervous when the doors of the plane opened but reminded herself she was doing it for ‘gampy.’ As she plummeted to the earth, Hager wanted to keep the broadcast PG, so she shouted the name of co-host Hoda Kotb to keep from letting loose a string of profanities on live TV.

“I was so nervous this morning and second guessing why I was even doing this, but he always said, ‘Enjoy the game,’ and there’s no better way to enjoy it than by living like this,” Hager told the Today show when she was back on solid ground.

The former first daughter was actually celebrating two birthdays. On June 14, the U.S. Army turned 246. Hager jumped over Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and landed at the site of a new national museum for the branch.

Last week’s jump was the second time Hager has gone skydiving, but she said she’d only consider doing it again if NBC anchor Craig Melvin or her mom, Laura Bush, went with her.


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