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CA357 07-12-2009 04:54 AM

Online Memorial Service
 
I received this in an email. It is not my experience.

Memorial Service, you're invited.


We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services. How about 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 Shifty 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.

IGETEVEN 07-12-2009 05:25 AM

Thanks for posting this 357 and sharing your personal experience with the rest of us. As most of the veterans of his generation, they believed they were "just doing what they thought needed to be done." Shifty was a true hero, but he would never admit it and he surly would deny it if called one. I became familiar with him in the HBO series interviews. R.I.P. Shifty, "Currahee!"

user4 07-12-2009 05:32 AM

Now THAT is a loss. Thanks, CA for honoring that man thusly. Currahee!

trautert 07-12-2009 05:44 AM

I absolutely concur.

Tom

CA357 07-12-2009 05:58 AM

I just edited the original post to make it correct. This was not my personal experience, it was sent to me in an email.

I apologize if I gave the impression that it happened to me. :o

I wish it had.

skullcrusher 07-12-2009 04:02 PM

RIP Shifty. You were a man among men. The world could use more men like you.

RL357Mag 07-12-2009 04:51 PM

The best part of that series is the interviews with the real heroes. When it airs on TV I know I'm not getting anything done for the rest of THAT day...recently on the news I saw an interview with the last remaining WWI veteran, he lives in Virginia and he is 108 yrs. old. What was truly amazing was that he did not appear to have ANY signs of dementia. Truly amazing, and very sad that these great men will soon be all gone. Thank you "Shifty", rest in peace.

orangello 07-13-2009 01:52 PM

Thanks to "Shifty", RIP.

What a lucky person to have met such a hero.


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