Sergeant John Griffin
by Jen Scardino
I have always seen my grandfather as a hero for being one of my best friends as a kid, playing dress up with me, and sitting through hours and hours of board games, little things like that. However when I was seven, I never knew this side of my grandfather, and now, knowing this, I realize that he really is a hero.
John Albert Griffin was drafted into the army when he was 26. He left behind a loving wife as well as a daughter, Mary. I interviewed Mary, my aunt about my grandfather’s great story.
When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, everything was changed. We were finally at war. My grandfather, newly married, a beautiful little girl at home and a baby boy on the way was not required to enlist because he had a family but he wanted to serve and protect his country. When he enlisted, he was put into a line with all the other men and every other person would be sent to the Pacific or Europe to fight. It just so happened that my grandfather was chosen to fight in Europe, the heart of World War II. So in March 1944, John was sent over to Europe for 3 months of intense training where he learned Morse code and even how to shoot a gun. He ended up becoming a sergeant for the infantry and fighting on the front lines for the next two scariest years of his life.
The Battle of the Bulge
The Home Front
Things at home were not much better. Mary would wait for my grandfather on her front steps. At first my grandmother and the rest of the family told the four year old that he was helping the army repair planes for battle. After a while it soon become clear that his job was much more demanding and that the country was at war. At night every family would have to close their blinds and shut off the light just in case there was a German attack on American soil.
Another time in battle, they were in hiding and the Germans were literally walking over my grandfather’s men. It was raining like many days of the war. There was a man under my grandfather, Delbert, and as the Germans were walking over them, he was fussing with his raincoat. Now at any moment the Germans could look down and kill them easily so this rustling could kill them. One German heard it and that is when my grandfather told him to shut up. Luckily no other German heard so they moved on. My grandfather would get Delbert’s Christmas card every year and every time he would open it, he would say, “Oh, here is the man that almost killed me.”
Honorable Return Home
Scenes of the Bulge by Jen Scardino
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Aug. 1999. EarthLink. 24 Jan. 2007 <http://home.earthlink.net/~iversonom/
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