Shifty – from Mark Pfiefer

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  

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  

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 June 17, 2009 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. 

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  

Rest in peace, Shifty. 
Mark Pfiefer 

I think that it is amazing how the “media” chooses our “hero’s” these days…
Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy & the like.