The other day I was asked, at work, to put together a DVD containing a videotaped interview with a soldier over in Iraq named Darrell R. Griffin, Jr. The reporter who interviewed him asked me to do this for a specific reason, which I will disclose in a moment.
So I started putting together the video, added some titles to the beginning to identify who the person is and where the interview was taking place and when. I then watched a good chunk of the video. What I saw was a young man, serving his country and fighting in a war that really shouldn’t be happening. He couldn’t be older than perhaps 34 years of age. He is married, hasn’t had any kids yet and has a sister who hails from Texas. He talked about some of the missions he had gone on, described some of the horrors he has seen. He talked about women and children dying in front of him and combatting the insurgency in Iraq.
I felt very proud of this young man, that he was enduring so many traumatic events in this, his second tour of duty. He has strong feelings about the people of Iraq who are the ones suffering and dying, moreso than the American occupation forces. So I wrapped up the DVD and burned it to a disc. I called the reporter and said it was ready and he came to pick it up.
I asked him, so who is this DVD for? He said, for the family of Darrell Griffin, to be shown at his funeral next week. He took the DVD and left me sitting in my cubicle feeling empty and full of sorrow. Darrell was killed by small arms fire on March 21st. In an instant all I had seen on the video flashed back at me. I thought about his wife, his family and friends. I mourned someone I had never met except through the reporter’s recording of the interview. But the sad fact is there are countless more American soldiers like Darrell, young and with so much of life ahead of them, who are being killed. I could mourn them too, but somehow watching Darrell’s interview made it possible for me to mourn his death. I felt as if, for a brief moment in time, I knew Darrell as a friend. And so I mourned him as a friend. God speed Darrell.
SSgt Darrell R. Griffin, Jr.
Announcement from the Dept. of Defense:
Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr., 36, of Alhambra, Calif., died Mar. 21 in Balad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with small arms fire during combat operations. Griffin was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.