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Remember vets, but don't glorify war

Jim Muys (click for larger version)
November 14, 2012 - "I was part of the forgotten generation that nobody liked. When I came back, I was spit on. We were called baby-killers. It was terrible."

That's what Oxford resident Jim (Mouse) Muys remembers about coming back to the United States after serving in the Vietnam War.

Back then, there were no ticker-tape parades or elaborate welcoming ceremonies for the veterans who returned home from the long and controversial war in southeast Asia that claimed the lives of approximately 58,000 American servicemen and women.

That's why he, and other veterans, were so gratified by the Veterans Day ceremony held Friday at Leonard Elementary School (for color photos, please see Page 28).

Muys, who's a member of North Oakland Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 334, was particularly pleased with the giant American flag created especially for this event.

The flag's 13 stripes consisted of little red-and-white student handprints.

"This flag is really impressive," he said. "I want to thank the kids and everybody here who had a hand in making it. And it looks like there were many hands. Thank you all."

Muys, who served in the U.S. Navy, told students the best way to honor veterans is to remember them and their deeds.

"I hope that they don't forget the stories that they've heard here today," he said. "I hope you remember what we did, what we went through. Please don't forget the vets. Please don't forget the sacrifices everybody made.

"There's a lot of Purple Hearts here in this room. There's a lot of Silver Stars. There's a lot of men in here who are way more decorated than I am. Don't forget these gentlemen . . . These guys paid the price for what you have now."

Oxford resident Jim Parkhurst, a veteran of the U.S. Army, reminded students that while war is sometimes a necessary thing, it's not something to be "glorified."

"Nobody wins on either side (in war)," he said. "We've all lost friends and family during these wars. (Soldiers) have lost arms and legs. It's not like the Hollywood movies depict (it to be). Just remember that."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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