Boy Scout David Griffith is building a memorial in Holly Springs Veterans Park honoring the lives lost in the War on Terror. But for 16-year-old Griffith, a rising high school junior at Harnett Central High School, it’s more than just an Eagle Scout project.
His older brother, Sam, was a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves who died honorably Dec. 14, 2011, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, saving the lives of many of the men in his unit.
“I loved him so much,” Griffith said. “After my brother died, I wanted so badly to build something that would be around way after I’m gone so that people can remember both him and all the people who have sacrificed so much to end this war.”
Griffith said he looked up to his older brother and tries to follow in his footsteps. Both grew up in the same Boy Scout troop, Troop 320, and Sam’s 1992 Eagle Scout project involved canvasing homes in Holly Springs and installing fire detectors in those that needed one. In order to qualify, homeowners had to be disabled, elderly, a veteran or on subsistence.
“Since his project was so big, I really like living up to my brother’s image, and I wanted to do something that was just as important to everybody else,” Griffith said.
As of last week, Griffith has received all the approvals he needs to move forward with the project.
He’ll begin by building the foundation for the memorial, which is to be a 10x10 pentagon of bricks with a central marble pentagon that rises above the foundation, displaying a piece of steel from the core beam of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
The eight-inch cube of steel was donated to Griffith last November by the owner of D.H. Griffin Construction, the company tasked with removing the World Trade Center pile of rubble. Griffith met the company’s owner, David Griffin, after reading about the Town of Apex’s Septemeber 11 memorial in The Apex Herald.
“When the memorial is all set and down, kids who may not have been around when 9-11 happened can come and think about what happened,” Griffith said. “People who were around … can look back on what happened and pay their respects.”
Constructing the foundation for the memorial is, in itself, Griffith’s Eagle Scout project, but the marble pentagon portion of the memorial is Griffith’s personal project and is expected to cost $25,000-$30,000.
To pay for the memorial, Griffith is selling bricks to individuals and businesses. Each $50 brick can be personalized and will be built into the patio leading up to the marble pentagon. Griffith hopes to finish the project by this fall and hold a dedication ceremony in spring 2014.
Griffith said he appreciates the support of people in Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs.
“I know quite a few people in both towns and, ever since I was coming up with an idea for this project, I’ve had so much support from families and friends and people all around that my sister and family know,” he said. “I just hope and pray we can get this project completed within a good amount of time.”
To purchase a personalized brick, visit Griffith’s website at http://thatsmybrick.com/eaglescoutdg. Monetary donations can be made through Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at DG War on Terror Memorial, P.O. Box 408, Holly Springs, NC, 27540.