Family to hold memorial for fallen Fuquay-Varina Marine
Posted January 19, 2012
Updated March 12, 2012
Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — This weekend, family members are holding a third memorial to remember the life of Maj. Samuel Mark Griffith, a Marine from Fuquay-Varina who gave his life to save a comrade.
Griffith grew up in Fuquay-Varina building model cars. He soon started working on real ones after he was old enough to buy a 1968 Ford Mustang.
"(He) literally brought it home on a trailer and in boxes," his father, Sam Griffith, said Thursday.
The father and son spent hours in the shop putting the car back together.
"We would work for hours and never say a word," Sam Griffith said.
Samuel Griffith's interests led him into the Marines in1997. He was a forward air controller who coordinated air strikes with pilots. Despite his dangerous job, his father said he always tried to put his parents at ease.
Last month, the Marine was on his third deployment to Afghanistan when his group came under heavy fire. A fellow Marine ahead of the group barely survived enemy fire, so Samuel Griffith decided to step up.
"He said, 'Tomorrow, when we go out, I will take your place,'" Sam Griffith said. "The next day, the ambush was a lot harder, a lot bigger and Sam got hit."
The 36-year-old died on Dec. 14. He left behind a wife and two sons.
At his funeral, his wife, Casey Griffith, sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
"She sung it to Sam. I love her, and I couldn't do what she did," his stepmother, Cherie Griffith, said.
Samuel Griffith was posthumously awarded the purple heart and a combat in action ribbon.
The Marine he switched positions with wrote a letter to the family to tell them how Griffith had saved his life.
At times, his father still remembers the hours of working alongside his son in the garage.
"We really worked well together, and we are going to miss that," Sam Griffith said.
Services were held in Virginia Beach, Va., where Griffith was stationed, and Florida, where Griffith's mother lives. On Saturday, the Enloe High School graduate and former Eagle scout will be remembered during a service at the United Methodist Church.