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Darrell "Shifty" Powers

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  • Darrell "Shifty" Powers

    I read this in an email and wanted to share. I don't think the author is really saying we should have a service for every hero that passes - most of them wouldn't want that. But, it is an interesting commentary on our society and who we deem important enough to grieve for as a nation. I snopesed the story and it was neither confirmed nor denied - but the details of this account aren't important, no one can deny the sacrifice that Shifty and many thousands just like him have made over the years.
    ================================================== ===
    We're hearing a lot this month about big splashy memorial services.

    I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

    Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen /Band of Brothers/ on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

    I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

    Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

    Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.
    At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.

    I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem ." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.
    I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

    I helped S hifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

    He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

    Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

    There was no parade.

    No big event in Staples Center .

    No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.

    No weeping fans on television.

    And that's not right.

    Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

    Rest in peace, Shifty.

    ANON

  • #2
    Thanks shifty for going forward into harms way on my behalf. I had not even been thought of but much like you I voulunteered for service knowing that someone may still be able to make use of the constitution in the future. You set the example for the coming generations by doing and not talking about it. Thank you and Semper Fi !

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    • #3
      I recommend the Kevin Bacon movie 'Taking Chance'. Its a pro patriotic movie that ended up getting to me. A true story to boot. Its a shame today's youth know all about 'American Idol' yet have no clue about D-Day. No wonder they follow 'He who shall not be named'.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the post. I think the point is that not too many veterans get remembered for their service with big fancy parades and public memorial services like singers do. It is a shame as the greatest generation is almost totally gone and as they pass on, their stories will all but disappear. Too many stories have not been told so that the future generations will remember.

        You are right about the X, Y, and Z generations (or whatever they call themselves), they honor singers and actors far more than they honor the real heroes that saved the world from disaster. Is is a disaster all by itself.:(
        As Zombie Axe would say...
        "Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty."

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        • #5
          Colonel Ed McMahon died during the Michael Pervert hoopla, too. Another hero who flew 85 combat missions over Korea as an artillery spotter.

          RIP, Ed, we appreciate all you did.
          "If Howdy Doody runs against him, I'm voting for the puppet." - SkyOwl's Wife, 2012

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