A group of east Texas students learned a lot today from a very special guest speaker, an East Texas marine back home after seven months of peace keeping duty in Iraq. Lance Corporal Richard Muston, who once was a student at Harleton, has seen heavy fighting in Iraq and been wounded in action. All at the age of 20.
He could have told war stories, but instead Muston talked to kids at Harleton high school about how different life is for kids their age in Iraq, and their fight to bring freedom to an oppressed people.
"It was good to see how the kids were interested in what we're doing over there, I know I took a lot of things for granted before I went over there. They're determined to get a country of their own a free nation, something to be proud of like we always have been" says Muston.
He took questions from a very curious crowd telling them how Iraqi children work hard all day, and that some are even weapon carrying guerillas. Students came away with a new appreciation of life in Iraq.
"It made me realize that what we have is special, like he told us how kids over there are 8 years old and carrying weapons" said Harleton high school junior Bryan Baker.
Muston says the hardest time of his deployment, was when he was wounded taking grenade shrapnel to the leg, and could only watch what was happening to his fellow Marines.
"I was in the hospital in a base, guys I knew guys came in dead, guys came in wounded, I couldn't do anything about it, i wasn't in the fight" says the marine.
His favorite memory is of one little boy Iraqi named "Wa-li", though they didn't speak the same language, they became friends.
"He was just so happy to be around us , to be able to sit close to a marine they're proud of us they're proud we're over here to help them" says Muston.
The marine feels the price of freedom has been paid, and hopes the next generation will remember.
"I've lost a lot of friends over there and i miss them dearly, never forget them" he says.
Muston will return to duty at "Camp Lejeune" North Carolina later this month, and await orders to deploy back to Iraq in September.
Bob Hallmark reporting.