Veterans are often badgered with rude and insensitive questions regarding their time in combat, at war, or overseas- which can be invasive and unwelcome. Take time to learn more about a veteran this Veteran’s Day- or any day- with some thought-provoking questions that engage, but not offend, someone who has served.
Common courtesy commands that you never ask someone intrusive questions that could be insensitive, impolite, or rude. So, why do so many people do this to veterans? Despite possibly being well-intentioned, people can be very invasive and rude when it comes to service vets. This Veteran’s Day, commit to engage a veteran but to consider questions about their service carefully before asking. Also, consider increasing the autonomy and freedom of a veteran that you love with quality mobility equipment to enhance accessibility today.
The way you talk to people is important. People that struggle with mental health issues like PTSD– or post-traumatic stress disorder- may suffer silently with debilitating anxiety and difficulty in handling situations that can trigger duress. It is estimated that around 15% of soldiers returning from Vietnam had PSTD, while experts indicate that up to 20% returning home from Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) suffer from this condition.
Show empathy and compassion by refraining from rude questions that could trigger their anxiety.
Refrain from asking these insensitive questions to a Veteran:
- Have you ever killed someone?
- What’s it like to kill someone?
- Do you support the President? Which political party do you belong to?
- What are your thoughts on involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?
- How are you adjusting to civilian life? Is it hard to adapt?
- Was it hard to leave loved ones for such a long time?
- Did anyone you know die overseas?
Be respectful and gracious. After all, this is someone who served to protect your and my freedoms. Also, it is estimated that one veteran per day dies of suicide, often related to post-traumatic stress disorder and usually within the first three years of being discharged from service.
Be courteous, but learn more about a veteran with these questions:
- How long did you serve in the military?
- Which branch- that is, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Guard, or Reserves?
- Why did you pick that branch?
- Do you come from a military family?
- Have you visited any other countries?
- Where was your favorite place that you went?
- Do you have family?
- What do you enjoy doing? What’s your favorite sports team?
Demonstrate a genuine interest in the veteran as a person- rather than exploit their experiences for amusement. Many still struggle with time spent in combat, so be sensitive and respectful. Thank them profusely for their service.
Show some support and solidarity by honoring those that have served on a day designated to honor and tribute them- Veteran’s Day.
Some ways to observe and show respect on Veteran’s Day include these suggestions:
- It is always the right time of year to hang a flag. Learn about proper flag hanging protocols online or from the Veterans Administration (VA) directly.
- Pay tribute to any family or friends that served by visiting graves or memorials. Clean up sites or bring flowers. Make this an annual observance, if you don’t already.
- Bake something sweet and drop it off at your local VA or senior center. Share a meal with a neighbor or shut-in.
- Shake the hands of a soldier, active or retired. Thank them for their service.
- Send a thank-you note to your area’s VA. Participate in an ‘adopt a grandparent’ pen pal exchange. Area nursing facilities and hospitals often facilitate these projects. This is a great activity to get kids involved with.
- Read a book with some historical relevance, or that is written by a veteran. Watch a war documentary.
- Stand and salute the flag. Play the National Anthem and listen to the words.
- Help someone else, veteran or not. Contribute time to a local family; this is a wonderful observance for any occasion. Being of service to others is the perfect way to honor vets on Veterans Day this year.
Perhaps the most important contribution and tribute that you can make to a veteran, service member, or individual is the gift of your time. Be patient and kind; remember that someone can be struggling with a debilitating disability or medical issue that doesn’t manifest in physical symptoms. PTSD is a very common mental health affliction that is prevalent among service members- particularly those that have served during a war.
If someone you love could use some assistance with accessibility, talk to the team at Pacific Mobility.
We appreciate and respect our veterans. If you have physical limitations or disabilities, we can help. Call or visit today to learn more- and thank you for your service.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)