You never know when you will meet the next “shifty”. Every interaction or effort to support the warriors is huge and you never know just who you might be affecting or helping when you do reach to help.
There have been a few times I thought I was just doing what was right by assisting and giving a hand to help this or that guy but sometimes you find yourself helping one of the Nations heroes. Sometimes its heroes of past wars and sometimes its tomorrows heroes that might just need that little piece you have and can provide. Its the kind of support that "picks" you and then you with free will have the opportunity to help or be a bystander and sit and watch. Im a pretty open straight shooting guy and can read people pretty well. So when I make the effort and reach out to them usually its met with a positive receptive return either it being a farmer in Iraq, tribal leader in Afghanistan or one of our nations heroes. It doesn't usually cost you anything to lend a hand but you have to make the decision to do it. What if you offer and they refuse? Well at least you offered. Make them tell you “no”. You might be surprised how many times people return with “yes, I need your help.”
Time for a Cgar
"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 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 he said: "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so,
and was in until sometime in 1945 …"
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?"
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."
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.
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 24×7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.
And that's not right!
Rest in peace, Shifty.
Chuck Yeager, Maj. General [ret.]