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Salute Our Troops| Vietnam Veteran recalls war, life in Marine Corps band

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“I remember being a young kid and saying, I want to be in that band,” said Edward Thomas. For him it was a moment that became destiny.

He did in fact become a member of the Marine Corps band.

“I played clarinet and saxophone and sometimes even drums, and later on ended up being the band director,” said Thomas.

It seemed a perfect fit, though he would come to find out, the hard way, what it meant to be in the service.

The country was at war in Vietnam, and Thomas would soon be deployed to the area, assigned to guard a command post.

He recalls the day a child walked into the camp holding a live grenade.

"That grenade went off and took three Marines with him.” Thomas said, adding that they were people he knew.

He survived Vietnam and continued to serve, retiring after 20 years.

Today, Thomas and his wife spend much of their time volunteering, helping homeless vets and doing work with the charity group Ayden’s Army of Angels.

Edward's wife Sherry Thomas said, “To me, I don’t think the people who’ve been in war get recognized enough. They served our country to protect us. I mean, because he’s a great musician and everybody that knows him knows that, but they don’t know his part about being a Vietnam Veteran."

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