By JEFF KAROUB Associated Press
Wishing living U.S. military veterans a “Happy Memorial Day” might be well-intentioned but misses the mark on an occasion meant for remembering those who lost their lives.
That and other timely reminders can be found in a new book researched and written by a Michigan State University journalism class with assistance from former servicemen and women. “100 Questions and Answers About Veterans” is aimed at clearing up myths and misunderstandings held by some civilians.
“A day of mourning doesn’t square with ‘happy,'” instructor Joe Grimm said. “They’re thinking, ‘I’m still here. My day is coming in November (on) Veterans Day.'”
The book, available in print and digital versions, is the eighth that Grimm’s classes have published. Others have covered Hispanics and Latinos, Native Americans, East Asians and Muslim Americans.
“Given the similarities between vets and other groups of people who are frequently stereotyped, this would be a place we could do some work,” Grimm said.
Veterans told students they can feel similarly conflicted when civilians thank them for their service. People mean well, Grimm said, but some veterans say kind words can ring hollow if the person doesn’t know how, when or why they served.
The book’s content was reviewed by veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, including Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
Joe Brigman, whose 11-year stint in the Army included three overseas tours, said the guide is both helpful and necessary.
“There really isn’t a whole lot out there,” said Brigman, who works in the state agency’s employment section but wasn’t involved with the veterans’ guide. “You’ve got to get rid of some of the myths and rumors out there.”