Thanks a ton Murali. The Gentoo wiki was especially helpful. I managed to get everything working. Here is a quick tutorial for what I did on my Debian based system.
1) Check to see that the button is registered:
dmesg | grep '^ACPI:'
If you get any output, you have ACPI compiled in
2) Registering the power button as an ACPI event
cat /var/log/dmesg | grep '^ACPI: Power Button'
If you get output, then your power button is registered. If not, then you'll need to either a) recompile the kernel with button registration engaged, or b) load the button module.
3) Load the button module
Ensure that you're kernel has button support available. Find the 'button.ko' file.
Load the button module to test for errors:
lsmod | grep button
If you receive no errors and lsmod returns information, then the module has been successfully inserted.
4) Load 'button' module on startup
Ensure that you have the 'button' kernel module loaded/loading on system startup. In Debian, you do this by adding to the /etc/modules.
5) Make sure ACPID is on the system
apt-get install acpid
If the installation does not automatically add startup and shutdown links in the /etc/rc*.d directores, you should manually add them.
Go to the directory /etc/acpi/events, if it does not exist, create it.
Create the file 'power' with:
Add this to 'power'
7) An example of /etc/acpi/onButtonPress-Power.sh
#Shutdown when the power button is pressed
logger "Power button pressed -- shutting system down"
/sbin/shutdown -h now
8) Make executable. Don't forget!
chmod 750 /etc/acpi/onButtonPress-Power.sh