The Kinsley Library will host Vietnam Veteran John Musgrave from 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at the library, 208 E. 8th St., Kinsley, as part of its ongoing “World War I and America” series. Musgrave was one of the primary voices in Ken Burns’ and Lynn Novick’s recent 10-part documentary, “The Vietnam War,” on PBS.
In 1967 Musgrave enlisted in the Marines and was sent to Vietnam, where he received life-threatening wounds. When he arrived back home, he faced an unappreciative country that did not honor his service and sacrifice. He became a member of Vietnam Veterans against the War. He began his struggle with PTSD with severe depression, alcoholism, and thoughts of suicide. Now he writes poetry, speaks to veteran groups and consuls post-911 veterans. After 50 years, he has found the courage to soon make his first trip back to Vietnam through a recent GoFundMe campaign.
“This series focuses on World War I, but some things about war never change, no matter who is fighting,” said Kinsley Library Director Joan Weaver. “This session will explore the universality of the soldier’s experiences whether in the muddy trenches of France, the thick jungles of Vietnam, or the hot sands of the Middle East.”
In a Vanity Fair article written last September, Musgrave voiced his concern for today. “The war that we are fighting now is frighteningly similar to Vietnam. And I think Americans need to be reminded of our war, and what came of it, what came of those types of political decisions.”
Larry Burke, the series scholar will also be speaking during the event. As a decorated Vietnam War veteran himself, Burke brings a soldier’s perspective to his topic “Knee Deep in Hell: World War I Trench Warfare.” Burke, who is retired from teaching at Dodge City Community College, has been bringing his passion for history and a gift of storytelling to the library series.
This event is free and open to the public. To insure a seat, people planning to attend should register at www.kinsleylibrary.info.
This event is funded by the Kansas Humanities Council which conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to participate in their communities. For more information contact the Kansas Humanities Council at 785/357-0359 or www.kansashumanities.org.