JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A second wave of U. S. Army troops landed at Utah Beach 69 years ago.
They traveled by boat from England, not knowing anything about where they were going other than they were about to engage America's enemies. Herb Griffin was on one of those boats.
Griffin served in the U. S. Army, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his injuries and actions in June 1944.
After being discharged from the military, the Jacksonville native had a short career with the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department before completing a 30-plus year career with the U.S. Postal Service.
Griffin, now 88-years-old, would like to return to France and see the place where he fought to ensure the freedom of complete strangers. After losing his wife 7 years ago, his chosen travel companion would be his brother Ed, also an U.S. Army Veteran. Griffin and his brother are hoping to make the trip in time for the upcoming 70th anniversary of D-Day, but the guided tour runs about $8,500.
The cost of Griffin's dream is not stopping him.
After stopping by and sharing his war stories and memorabilia with fire fighters in St. Johns County, they created a Go Fund Me campaign and now Griffin and his brother Ed are about $7,600 away from fulfilling their dreams.