30 Jan

I received this forward on an ironic day. John Kerry was confirmed to the Senate. Everything cycles in life and DC. John Kerry is no different. John Kerry ran for President. And lost. What he did do was awaken a generation that is being lost one Patriot at a time, the Heroes of World War II. They came out in droves to protest the candidacy of a man who slightly didnt tell the truth about his war exploits, a man who used the blood of their brethren to step on top of to a career in politics and a knack for marrying well and up. No, he isnt quite a Kennedy but the link didnt hurt him. So on this day, Shifty’s story crossed my desk. I didnt know Shifty. I knew many others like him who went to war for God and Country and are dying wondering what happened to their country and God. For this, I share, Shifty. I stand for you, sir. My honor. No moment of silence from this girl. I speak in your memory so you will not be forgot, so that the America you fought for will live.

A hero died. Flags were not at half mast. The world didn’t stop. This hero died with barely anyone’s notice. Chuck Yaeger asked people to notice the hero they never saw, Shifty.

Shifty wasn’t a no one. He was a someone. He appeared on Band Of Brothers on TV, as a character and as himself. Shifty served with the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry Easy Company. Shifty had volunteered to serve in WWII.

Chuck had met Shifty in Philly at the airport a few years back. Chuck didn’t know who Shifty was, just an old man struggling to read his ticket that Chuck offered to guide to the right gate. Then Chuck saw it, the symbol of the 101st Airborne on Shifty’s hat. Shifty wore the Screaming Eagle. Shifty said he served the 101st. Chuck thanked him for his service, asked when he served and how many jumps he made. Shifty said he signed up in 1941. He was in until 1945, he thought. And then Shifty asked Chuck a question. Did Chuck know where Normandy was? Shifty jumped there after five training jumps at TToccoa and a second jump into Arnhem, Holland. Chuck did know where Normandy was. More important, Chuck knew he stood in the presence of service. Shifty was a war hero.

And it was June, soon after the anniversary of DDay. Putting two and two together, Chuck figured out Shifty was coming back from France. Chuck’s heart broke. Shifty shared how sad it was the few veterans left couldn’t make the trip to France to honor their fellow soldiers.

As it turned out, Chuck and Shifty were traveling on the same plane. Chuck was in First class, Shifty in coach. Chuck decided to switch seats, sending the stewardess to bring Shifty back with her. Chuck told Shifty Chuck was taking the coach seat. Shifty declined saying it was nice enough just knowing people remembered and cared. Tears in his eyes, Shifty said he was happy. 

And now, Shifty is dead. He lost a prolonged battle to cancer. No bells. No whistles. No ticker tape parades. No media frenzy. Or parazzi. No one missed him. They didn’t remember the price he paid.

Lest we forget… Shifty, a real American hero
Chuck Yeager, Maj. General [ret.]


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