Connecting with veterans: What to do, what not to do

October 30, 2017 - 2 min read

Veterans Day is coming up; a time where we honor those who have fought for us. Many civilians find it hard to communicate with veterans – particularly if they’ve never had personal connections to one. Afraid of offending them, dredging up painful memories or triggering an unwanted response, they opt to avoid talking of a person’s service altogether – a decision that can often pain a veteran who has dedicated much of their time and energy to military service.

But making our veterans feel appreciated is a part of American civic duty. And with Veterans Day just a few days out, it’s the perfect time to break down those walls and create a meaningful connection with a military veteran in your area.

What to do

Veterans are proud of their service, and for the most part, they want to talk about it and let it be known. Ask them what branch they served in, what their specific post was or what spurred their decision to serve in the first place.

Find out what countries they traveled to, and ask about what they learned or saw from other cultures. For many, getting to see other parts of the world is one of the best elements of service.

Finally, say thank you. Thank them for the sacrifices they made, thank them for the sacrifices of their family and loved ones, and tell them you appreciate what they have done for your country.

What not to do

Don’t try to open up old wounds. Avoid asking about dead bodies, attacks, bombs or anything else that would bring back the worst of their service memories. Keep it light, and keep it grateful.

Try to avoid lumping them into a military stereotype, too. They’re not superheroes, nor are they vulnerable, PTSD victims. They’re people with husbands, wives, kids and other loved ones that put their lives on the line to protect America.

Reach out to a veteran

Saturday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day – the perfect time to recognize and appreciate the amazing military members who have served our country. Take time to reach out to a veteran in your area and show your gratitude.

Aly J. Yale
Authored By: Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor
Aly J. Yale is a mortgage and real estate writer based in Houston who has contributed to Forbes and worked for organizations such as The Dallas Morning News, PBS, NBC, and Radio Disney.