Colonel Griffith’s Message on Life

Colonel David Griffith has never seen active duty combat but he still knows the pain of losing a colleague – 23 to be exact. On that fateful morning of September 11, 2001, Colonel Griffith personally knew 23 men who died in the attacks on the Pentagon. Eight months before, Griffith was transferred out of the Pentagon after working there for seven years.

Commissioned out of the Army ROTC at the University of Texas at Arlington – as a Coyboys fan, he couldn’t resist mentioning that that’s the site of their new billion dollar stadium, Colonel Griffith has spent his Army career as a personnel officer. In his 27 years in the Army, he has never seen active duty combat but has trained over 60,000 personnel, finance, and JAG officers at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He has also spent time stationed in Germany and Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Currently, Colonel Griffith is back at the site where he lost 23 of his comrades almost eight years ago. He is the executive officer of personnel policy where he works in formulating Army personnel policy. In this role, Colonel Griffith has worked on the Freedom Team Salute.

The Freedom Team Salute gives soldiers the chance to recognize family, veterans, or anyone else whose service has supported the military. Recipients receive a certificate of freedom, an Army lapel pin, and a personal letter signed by the Army Secretary and Chief of Staff. At the Memorial Day Parade Colonel Griffith presented country music legend, Lee Greenwood with the honor for his contribution of the patriotic song, “God Bless the USA” and his dedication serving on USO tours.

Being back at the Pentagon has given Griffith an appreciation of life. He says that “life is fleeting” so we must enjoy life while we can. Though cliché, his words take added meaning when considering the unexpected circumstances in which his comrades killed. When reminiscing upon the ultimate sacrifices paid by hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers from generations past and present, the reality of the value of life becomes humbling. Life is fleeting, so cherish it now while you can.

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