Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shifty - An American Hero of the Greatest Generation

Think of the media circus and all the things that were said of Whitney Houston when she died and Michael Jackson when he died.

This hero died with barely anyone's notice. 

These members of the "Greatest Generation" are dying with hardly a notice. Their sacrifices helped keep us safe and made this the great nation that it is...in a way it is ironic that in their declining years they have seen what has happened to our country that they worked so hard to protect and preserve. 

May God Bless them and their families.....we owe them a debt of gratitude. 

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"Shifty" By
Chuck Yeager


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 is, 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 who 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 Jan. l7 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.

Chuck Yeager, Maj. General [ret.]


P.S.  I think that it is amazing how the "
media" chooses our "heroes" these days...

Elvis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston
& the like.

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"SHIFTY" - an incredible American hero.

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