"Shifty" By Chuck Yeager
"SHIFTY" - an incredible American hero
������ 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 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...
������ Michael Jackson & the like!
������ "SHIFTY" - an incredible American hero
������ SHIFTY DIED JAN 17, 2011..........May God rest his soul.
������ Please do me a favor and pass this on so that untold thousands can
������ read it. We owe no less to our REAL heroes..