July 30, 2009
I got an email forwarded to me by Dr. Todd Stojeba of WingHaven Chiropractic. It stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t think of anything else to do but have my own memorial service for a true hero. Below is the entire email. I don’t know who wrote it but thank you.
One of the “Band of Brothers” soldiers died on June 17, 2009.
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.
Jason R. Thomas
A few days ago I met with my buddy Dan Gill to talk about his new gig with Candice Coleman Communications LLC,
Dan’s passion and talent with a camera are astounding. Take a look at some of his work and see for yourself.
Dan was kind enough to give me a few gift certificates to Genghis Grill, one of CCC’s clients. I have not had an opportunity to go eat at Genghis Grill, however, I do love Mongolian BBQ and highly recommend everyone try it (and use the chopstick or you ain’t really trying). So I had an idea…
15819 Fountain Plaza Dr.
Ellisville, MO 63017
Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
I will give away $20 gift certificates to 3 people (from the St. Louis, Missouri area) who share the best giving stories. Please keep your stories to a readable length, but most importantly get the point across. I don’t particularly care what your side of the equation is in this case. I really want to read some go-giving stories, specifically form the St. Louis, Missouri area.
The only string, we have to grab a cup of coffee and talk like real human beings to exchange the gift cards. This is the only way I know to ensure humanity finds its way into the technology we all share.
Submission Deadline Friday, April 10, 2009
I’ll do my best to announce winners within a few days.
Who can you tell a story about?
What’s your perspective?
When will you take time to share your thoughts, authentically?
Where’s the best place for coffee?
Why don’t you just write the story your thinking about, NOW?