Two Alice veterans have been selected for a trip to Washington DC that will honor and recognize their service to their county in World War II.
WWII veterans, Marvin “Buck” Muse and Guadalupe Garza, who served in the United States Navy were selected by the Honor Flight San Antonio de Valero for the trip in October. A total of 15 men from the Coastal Bend area along with other WWII veterans around the nation will be honored.
Garza was about to turn 18 when he was taken over seas. “I enlisted because there were no jobs and no future here,” he said. “I went through a lot during my service, but I remember learning to pray during a typhoon.”
Muse volunteered when he was 17 because it was expected of all men of the proper age and patriotism was running high back then, he said.
“I was afraid (the war) was going to be over before I got there,” Muse stated. “I had my 18th birthday while serving.”
Muse also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. “ I usually only speak about the war to my fellow soldiers,” he said.
Both men returned to a nation trying to recover from the Great Depression.
“We didn't have a fanfare when we came home,” Garza said. “We came back to our immediate family who were happy to see us but then we had to get to work.”
There were no parades or media waiting for them as they disembarked from their ships like today, said former JWC Veterans Services Roberto Juarez.
“Soldiers weren't always remembered,” Garza said. “My wife's brother was a soldier who died while serving his country. He didn't get a solders welcome home so we have an American flag on his grave and visit him daily, as a way to thank and remember him.”
Both men were excited to hear they had been selected to attend ceremony in Washington and hope to reunite with soldiers they served with, Muse and Garza said.
While the trip to the nation's capital is an honor and is at no cost for the veterans they are responsible for their hotel fees, meals and the trip to the San Antonio Airport.
“We ask for the community's help sending these two veterans on a trip of a lifetime,” Juarez stated.
On Saturday, Sept. 19 the men along with Juarez will attend a Veteran and Guardian “Meet and Greet” in San Antonio to get and finalize all paperwork needed for the trip.
A a gofund account and a bank account have been set up for the men. To donate visit www.gofundme.com/2v2zs55k or at the Prosperity Bank on 1200 East Main Street on behalf of WWII Honor Flight.
“All the money left from the donations will be donated to the Honor Flight San Antonio de Valero,” Juarez said. “The greatest generation of soldiers will finally be recognized.”