Nearly $10,000 raised for Kansas veteran in Ken Burns documentary to travel to Vietnam

A tribute on Veterans Day at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2017.


Film producer Ken Burns spoke with Stars and Stripes about his new documentary with Lynn Novick called, "The Vietnam War." In this video, he talks about what he learned while making the film.
Ken-Yon Hardy/Stars and Stripes

By MAX LONDBERG | The Kansas City Star | Published: November 28, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  (Tribune News Service) — Nearly $10,000 has been raised to help a Kansas Marine veteran who served in Vietnam to return to the country, which he said would be one of the most important things he has left to do “on this earth.”

“I just wish I possessed the language to adequately convey to everyone that is helping with this just how much it means to me,” said John Musgrave, who served in the Marines for about 11 months in 1967 before being disabled at 19 years old.

Musgrave continues to sleep with a nightlight on.

His retelling of his experiences and aftermath of the brutal campaign for the Ken Burns documentary “The Vietnam War” garnered widespread praise after the film launched on PBS in September. Many people, including veterans, wrote to him to thank him for his honesty and vulnerability.

“They appreciated my being willing to share the intimate details,” Musgrave said. “Many of them just letting me know that they’ve had the same struggles, and it helped to hear somebody else talk about it.”

And Musgrave’s accounts caught the attention of Rose Marino, who recently attended a public screening in Lawrence. Musgrave, who lives in Baldwin City, agreed to answer questions after the screening.


“(He) was asked if he had ever been back to Vietnam or wanted to visit there,” Marino wrote on the GoFundMe page she created on Musgrave’s behalf. “John said he had not been back because of finances, but he was interested in returning to see the places where he had been as a Marine.”

The page was created about a month ago, and in that time, about $9,000 has been raised to “honor him and thank him,” Marino wrote.

Musgrave hopes to travel to Vietnam in April with his wife and several other Marine veterans.

“I just think it’s going to do me a lot of good to see that that country has moved on,” he said.

Musgrave said he hopes the visit will release him from his need to sleep with a nightlight.

“I’d like to get over being scared of the dark,” he said, “but that fear is burned into my psyche pretty deep.”

©2017 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
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