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Lawrence veteran recalls learning the way out of Vietnam 'ain't the yellow brick road'

Melinda Hipple
After being shot in the chest by in the Vietnam War, John Musgrave recalled making peace with God. Musgrave was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 1969.

For infantrymen like John Musgrave, the road out of Vietnam involved dehumanizing the enemy and killing them. His memoir describes his time in the war, why he joined the antiwar movement and the responsibility of citizens of a democracy.

The United States had been involved in the Vietnam War for more than a decade when John Musgrave joined the Marines. He was 17 and eager to enlist in 1966.

Musgrave, who spent more than 11 months in Vietnam, said the infantrymen were mentally prepared to kill the enemy.

"Everybody's got a road they want to take home," Musgrave recalled being told. "It ain't the yellow brick road. That road is paved with the bodies of your dead enemies. It's the red meat road."

The author joined Up To Date to talk about what he hopes readers gain from his new memoir.

"The Education of Corporal John Musgrave: Vietnam and Its Aftermath," 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Kansas City Public Library, Plaza Branch, Truman Forum, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, Missouri 64112.

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