I read this story on the online journal of a friend of mine, and it got me to thinking about the men and women of our armed forces. (Just for you copywrite-happy people out there, I did not write this, I merely pasted it in because I liked it, and I wanted to share)
""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."
Let's everybody give a big salute to Shifty, and to all soldiers everywhere. My great-uncle Steve was a paratrooper. He jumped into Normandy a couple days after D-Day. Mom says he didn't really like to talk about it, but he had other stories that he liked to tell.
The soldiers of our nation are amazing people. Both of my grandfathers were in the military, in different capacities. My maternal grandfather was in the Air Force for 5 years, and then in the Army for over 20 years, and my paternal grandfather worked on planes in the Air Force, so I have a deep respect for soldiers. As far as I'm concerned, anyone willing to jump out of a plane into enemy fire for their country is a whole lot braver than I am.
It makes me so sad to hear about how some people treat soldiers. They are truly strong and honorable people, and they deserve respect.
So here's to all the veterans out there!
This post dedicated to
The men and women of our armed forces
You are wonderful, strong and honorable people
If I'm lucky, I'll be half as strong as you are
To my precious family
I'm honored to know you
To my baby brother
STOP BEING SICK
GET BETTER ALREADY
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