After 45 years, the remains of SGT Rodney L. Griffin, were recovered and identified among a group of remains near where he was last seen close to Memot, Cambodia.   Griffin's former wife, Donna, a resident of California, was notified last month as was his brother, Darryl.  On March 6, the following was reported:
"Rodney's brothers, Bill and Darryl, submitted DNA samples years ago to the Army for use if Rodney's remains were ever found," said Griffin's widow, Donna.  "Earlier last month, I received word from an Army official from Fort Knox that Rodney had been identified from among the remains of a group of servicemen found near the site of the crash in Cambodia.
SGT Griffin went missing after surviving a helicopter crash while on a combat mission with the 2nd BN, 34th Armored Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam near the border with Cambodia May 2, 1970.  Enemy fire from within Vietnam caused the helicopter to crash across the border.  Those not killed in the crash, like Griffin, were able to escape and attempt to evade the enemy. Griffin was last seen firing his M-16 into the elephant grass.  
According to accounts of those who survived, the crew members and Griffin and his fellow soldiers who were passengers had less than a minute to decide whether to surrender or try to evade capture.
Only one survivor made it to U.S. lines two days later.  Griffin was not heard from again.
Born in Mexico in 1948, Griffin's parents later moved to Centralia, where he graduated from Centralia High School in 1968.  
Donna and Rodney were married in 1968 after he graduated from Centralia High School. She was three years younger but with her parents' permission, they were married before Rodney was drafted. He entered the Army in April, 1969.
He arrived in Vietnam for what was to be a one-year tour of duty in combat.
"It was 3 and 1/2 years after we married and he left for Vietnam before I knew (whether Rodney was being held as a POW and coming home or not), Donna said.
"Not long after I heard in February from the Army about Rodney being found, I happened to be watching a documentary about Vietnam on TV," she said.  "A soldier who had fought and survived in Vietnam said in the film, 'Once you are in a war and your buddy dies in honor for you in combat, that person never ever leaves your memory.' That sums up my memories of Rodney.
"I know everyone who knew and loved Rodney wants him to come home," Rodney's wife, Donna, said in March.
Yesterday SGT Griffin's journey home continued ...  
There are some occasions in life when words are inadequate at best. Such was the case Thursday, April 23 at 10:45 a.m., a crisp, spring morning without a cloud present, only a radiant sun rising from the east, and the sky, a field of blue, and love stretched out for more than a mile, and blossomed on the overpasses, the side roads, the sidewalks, the street bed, school yards, homes and places of work. Rodney Griffin, SGT U.S. Army, beloved husband, brother, son and friend was going home.  
Loving someone completely, indeed life itself, is a high wire act. To put it in the vernacular of game theory, love is a large four-letter word that is high risk, and loving someone, high reward, but always high risk.   
Many of us have been so deeply in love in our lives, that when physical death occurs, or perhaps harder, when there is no body, only memories, we find that love itself can't stay on the wire and falls and there is no net...and the choice is whether to climb back up and risk, or stay still and lie broken.
Watching someone touch the flag draped vessel that holds the remains of love never forgotten, but always remembered and cherished, is a picture that needs no  words.
So many of us remember the last touch, the last kiss, the goodness felt, the wrenching comfort of an embrace in parting, and when all seemed lost, know what it took to climb back up and step out on the wire again.
So for my new friends yesterday re-membering the last embrace and the love that never died, for Donna, his wife, and Darryl, his brother, his kin and closest friends, and all who loved Rodney, and still do, and all the others hanging a flag off the overpass or from the fire truck's ladder, or holding one in the hand; pulling over and saluting, entire schools, teachers and children, hands over hearts and those youth nearly Rodney's' last age; the beauty salon owners, the volunteers who put out fires, rescue cats from roof tops, find  lost children, and keep our lives safe with their lives; for soldiers, old and young, trim in stunning dress blues or old soldiers with their old insignia and medals standing in rumpled uniforms that no longer fit, but did long ago; for farmers in seed corn caps doffed and held over throbbing hearts, for Gold Star mothers and wives, and siblings; for complete strangers who had to stop, and pull over, knowing something sacred was unfolding; for the people of St. Louis, who somehow got the word or knew the meaning when they saw the Patriot  Guards surrounding Rodney, keeping him safe;  the unknown tractor trailer driver using his big rig to keep the impatient and disinterested at bay; for complete strangers or friends in New Florence, Wellsville, Montgomery City, Martinsburg, Vandiver Village, and Mexico, tomorrow, Thompson and finally, Centralia; and for all of us daring to step out and put our foot on the wire, and risk it all for love, this sacred text, these words: ... "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Welcome home Rodney, SGT Griffin, so many are so glad you are finally home...