An American Hero Dies
By Dave Henderson www.rimoftheworld.net
Dickenson County, VA – “Who is Darrell Powers?” I’m sure many of you are asking. With the death of Michael Jackson, the major news networks have sucked the oxygen from the atmosphere with all their bloviating, contrived adulation and non stop coverage of every aspect of the performer’s life. It is no surprise that most have not heard of Power’s passing.
Darrell “Shifty” Powers, like millions of Americans, answered the call of World War II. A quiet, unassuming man, Shifty joined the Army and then volunteered for the Airborne.
After intensive training, Powers was assigned to the famed Easy Company 2nd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, where he jumped into Normandy on D-day. He was involved in the assault on Bracore Manor, which saved thousands of lives on Omaha Beach.
Powers fought in the battle of Carentan and the airborne invasion of Holland as part of Operation Market Garden, where millions of French and Dutch citizens found freedom.
The 506th was encircled by superior German forces in the Battle of the Bulge and against incredible odds, successfully defended the city of Bastone. Powers and the 506th then entered Germany, liberated concentration camps and captured Hitlers, “Eagles Nest” in Berchtesgarden.
Shifty survived the war only to be seriously injured in an auto accident while en route home and his return to civilian life.
Like millions of veterans, Powers lived a simple productive life and would have slipped into history unknown if it were not for Stephen Ambrose and the story “Band of Brothers”, which was turned into an HBO mini series.
Tom Brokaw called this the “Greatest Generation” and I tend to agree. Average men and women rose to the call to defend freedom. Their sacrifice freed millions and defeated true evil.
This quiet man did not live in ostentatious wealth. He did not want to go to war, nor did he seek adulation for his service, but he answered the call and the world is free because of his efforts and sacrifice.
I doubt Shifty could do the moon walk, or that he was a gifted dancer or singer. He was never accused of pedophilia, nor did he find escape in drugs. He was not a pop icon, but, to me, Darrell “Shifty” Powers was a true hero.
We are losing our fathers and grandfathers by the thousands now; they are that age. The “Greatest Generation” – have you said thank you?
I grew up with Michael Jackson. We were born the same year. I can sing his hits and recognize the gifted artist he was and am cognizant of the impact he had on our society and music. I can say I have been both an all-out fan at times and have truly felt sorry for his mis-steps and very uncomfortable by his behavior at others. But we seem, as always, to idolize and revere the flashy and forget the true heroes who make life better day in and day out, not for screaming masses, but for the people around them. And they have impacted the generations just as certainly.
Thank-you to the men and women who, even still, protect us and our freedoms. Thanks to Darrell Powers and the men like him (including my father-in-law, Raymond Rhoades, who is still living, and my grandfathers, Dean Baker and Everett Allison, who are not).
The passing of a friend
I also want to mention our friend Ken Culkin. He died on July 4th at the age of 43, grilling for his family who were swimming in the backyard pool. Ken was a veteran, too, but I knew him as a great neighbor and friend, a godly brother in Christ, a man who loved his family (his beautiful wife of 18 years and 6 wonderful daughters) deeply. He was generous and kind, gentle and true-hearted. Ken will be missed.
Remember the heroes…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Love and hold people close while they are here…