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    Veteran-Turned-Writer Pens Soldiers’ Experiences

    Veteran-Turned-Writer Pens Soldiers’ Experiences

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Timothy Koster | Retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. William Graser, talks about his book, “Veterans’...... read more read more

    CONCORD, NH, UNITED STATES

    03.04.2017

    Courtesy Story

    362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt. and author, William Graser, presented his book, “Veterans’ Reflections,” which he wrote to honor war veterans who served in World War II through the Afghanistan War, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire on March 4, 2017.

    He wrote his book as a tribute to veterans, but Graser hopes the stories resonate with civilians.

    “They have a different perspective,” said Graser. “I’ve spoken with some who say they’d never put themselves in harms way or even considered the military as a career.”

    After reading the stories in this book, they’ll have a much better understanding of what veterans have gone through, he said.

    In total, 60 different veterans provided stories. For the book, however, Graser downplayed his role as author and chose to focus on the contributors.

    “I gave them as much leeway as possible,” he said, “while I honed in on spelling and grammatical correctness.”

    One reason Graser wanted to compile these stories is to show respect to soldiers, both past and present, something that wasn’t afforded to many, especially those who served in Vietnam.

    “One of the contributors to the book came up to me and said, ‘Before this project no one had ever taken the time to say thank you for your service,’” said Graser.

    “Some of us were called baby killers and spit upon, but today, probably 80 or 90 percent of the time, people will stop someone in uniform and say, ‘Thank you.’ That didn’t happen for us who served in Vietnam,” he added.

    Gary Gordon, a Navy veteran and audience member from Concord, New Hampshire, concurred with Graser.

    “It’s very important that these stories are told and history doesn’t repeat itself,” said Gordon.

    Gordon has been a member of several welcoming committees since retirement.

    “My first time as a member of a committee was at the end of the Gulf War,” said Gordon. “We met the returning soldiers at the airport to show them our gratitude and respect.”

    Like Graser, Gordon faced similar negative experiences when he returned from Vietnam.

    “Hey, what happened to us, happened and we can’t change that,” said Gordon. “What I can change is contributing to an effort that ensures it never happens to soldiers again. That’s why I volunteer for the welcoming committees; that’s why I attended today.”

    Gordon said that he wasn’t surprised that the majority of the audience was comprised of veterans, given Graser’s background.

    “For the most part, we stick together,” he said.

    Graser’s stories, as told by veterans, mirror that message. He said he will continue to make appearances, spreading their messages wherever and whenever possible.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.04.2017
    Date Posted: 03.05.2017 21:59
    Story ID: 225758
    Location: CONCORD, NH, US 
    Hometown: LONDONDERRY, NH, US

    Web Views: 414
    Downloads: 0
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