Real Men....Real Heroes

This came in my email, today, and I wanted to pass it on…

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.

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.

*“A nation without heroes is nothing.”
*Roberto Clemente

Thanks the post. My dad was one of those guys only he was in the B-17s, got shot down once and lost a lot of friends. We have real heros all around us in probably every town, that never got or get the pop star recognition for their sacrifices or service. I once did some work on an old man’s home. He was in a wheelchair and he liked to come sit and talk with us while we did some repairs to windows and doors. He was obviously lonely and very frail. Come to find out he had fought in many major battles taking France and into Germany and he too had landed at Normandy. When we were done he wanted to know how much he owed us. We told him nothing…he had already paid in full.

My dad is still around at 88. He flew B-25’s over France and Germany out of England; a gunnery Seargent. He never talks about what he did; only thanks the man upstairs for letting him create his family after he got home. He and his wife, my mom, still live in the home they bought in 1951, six months after I was born. It is the simple things he is thankful for. In February, he successfully had a heart valve replacement. He and my mom still drive to their second home in the Ozarks on weekends. Simple things.

I have posted this on some groups I belong to on face book and emailed to several others.

Shifty from one jumper to another may you Rest in Peace, the good Lord has called you home.

Thanks James for sharing this with us. These really are the true heros, along with all of the men and women who have served this country in the armed forces.

Kenneth Townsend
Gulf Coast Inspections
Bradenton, Florida

I have a neighbor 90 years old, A pearl Harbor survivor, He is great guy, I help him around his house anytime he needs it. I invited him to a Local Chamber of commerce event regarding September 11Th, We had some young kids from a school, the story he told about the day the kids could not believe it.

Thank you Shifty, and all the others who have served this country so bravely. Without men like you guys, we would not live the lives we can today.

Thank you Shifty for having the courage to fight for freedom, so the rest of us may bicker about how it is to be divided.

May you rest in peace.

Thanks James, for posting.](](
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