Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Memorial Service: You're Invited

I came across this story by e-mail from a very good friend of mine. It is a great true story written by Joe Galloway that deserves attention. It is about a WW2 Hero. Here it is:


Lest we forget.
By Joe Galloway
Subject: Memorial Service: you're invited.
We're hearing a lot today 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 wa s 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.


Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing."
(Roberto Clemente)







4 comments:

Ellie said...

Ok, I cried. That is an incredibly neat story. It is so sad how fast people forget, forget what was sacrificed so that we could live in safety.

Josh said...

It is sad to think about the lack of gratefulness many people have toward soldiers and vets. So many people take advantage of the freedom that we have.
Thanks for sharing this Joshua.

In Christ,
Josh

'becca said...

Thank you for posting this, Joshua. It is so sad to see how little our country cares for our heros. We just can't take for advantage the freedom that we have. We need to remember those that stood up to fight for that freedom.

'becca

Nakwana Leofman said...

A great tribute to a former Veteran of WWII.