E-Mails Reveal a Fallen Soldier's Story
Darrell Griffin Sr., an accountant who also runs several business ventures, is compiling his son's writings into a book and hopes to travel to Iraq to see where his son died. "My emotions have [been] on a roller coaster going from extreme anger, to sadness, to helplessness, to acceptance to confusion and then all over again," he wrote me five days after his son's death. And the elder Griffin has been pressed by many of his friends and colleagues in Southern California to join the ranks of the antiwar movement and use the story of his son's death to help end the war. "They just don't seem to understand or accept that my son loved the Armythat the Army saved him in many waysand that the thing he hated the most was politics getting in the way of finding real solutions for the Iraqis."
This month, his son-in-law's National Guard unit was activated for deployment to Iraq. In the coming months, he expects his grandson, a Marine medic, to go there as well. "There should be a limit on how much of this a family is asked to bear," he says.
Diana Griffin is moving from Fort Lewis, Wash., to be closer to her family in Southern California. And she remembers the chaplain coming to the door. "The President of the United States ... " he began. That's where her memory of the event stops. By her bedside, she still keeps a book on the 19th-century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard that her husband hadn't finished reading. She didn't speak at the microphone to the assembled mourners at the funeral, but after the echoes of the graveside 21-gun salute faded into the din of the nearby freeway, she said this: "Today, Darrell has come home on his shield."