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A Giant Has Left Us


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From Neptunus Lex's blog:

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 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 24×7 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.

Boats, who can't really say anything right now...

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Yeah, we give so much coverage to celebrities who have done little to nothing to better mankind or protect our freedoms and rights, yet give no coverage to those who risked everything for us. No, it's not right. It's just not right. :(

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A beautiful story, JC! I'd be proud to forward it to all the ex-Service guys I know. And rest easy, Mr Powers, you've more than done your bit! :icon_salute3:

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It is easy to imagine Katherine Jenkins singing this at his funeral

S! Shifty.


Requiem For A Soldier

Sung by Katherine Jenkins

You never lived to see

What you gave to me

One shining dream of hope and love

Life and liberty

With a host of brave unknown soldiers

For your company, you will live forever

Here in our memory

In fields of sacrifice

Heroes paid the price

Young men who died for old men's wars

Gone to paradise Bullen934 (11 hours ago) Show Hide 0 Marked as spam

Reply We are all one great band of brothers

And one day you'll see we can live together

When all the world is free

I wish you'd lived to see

All you gave to me

Your shining dream of hope and love

Life and liberty

We are all one great band of brothers

And one day you'll see - we can live together

When all the world is free

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