Things NOT to Say to or Ask a Veteran - Handmade By Heroes

Things NOT to Say to or Ask a Veteran

March 10, 2017

Things NOT to Say to or Ask a Veteran

Some people often do not realize that what we say to some former military men and women that we meet and talk to breeches proper conduct and invade veterans’ personal space.

The things that we ask them about their personal experiences while they were still in service are sometimes below the belt that instead of appreciating them, we end up disrespecting and hurting them because of words that should have never been asked in the first place. So, what are the things that we should never say or ask a veteran? Here are six of them.

Here are 6 things you should never say to or ask a veteran: 

1. “Thank you for your service, but I don’t think we should have been there in the first place.”

If you do not have anything good to say about the violence that war brings, then, it’s better to just keep quiet!

A simple “Thank You” is enough for a veteran who have served and experienced physical injuries from conflicts.

2. “The military is a job for men. Why did you join? 

In our today’s society, asking this question to our female veterans is considered as extremely antiquated thinking and also sexist. Just like in the civilian workplace, women can do most if not all jobs in the military. Women are also proven good military leaders and extremely capable combat fighters. While it is true that men still outnumbers women in the military, the gap is now slowly but surely decreasing as more and more women are now enlisting in the military service.

3. “How could you leave your family while you were deployed?”

Every soldier retired or in active duty dreads the day when he or she leaves his/her family to be deployed in the most remote and dangerous parts of the globe. So, when a veteran returns home, it is not proper to ask them this question. Let them focus their time with their family, friends and loved ones instead of letting them relieve the hardships of being deployed.

4. “Are you suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder?

Asking this question to a veteran is just wrong. Let the veteran volunteer this information about himself first then you can offer him your help or advice or just listen to him and be his support. Sometimes listening will do more good than giving unsolicited advice.

5. “Have you ever killed anyone?”

As civilians, we have no idea how a veteran feels once his service is over. So asking them if they have killed anyone is extremely a personal question. This may also make a veteran relive a very difficult episode in his life that he is trying to forget.

6. “Were you raped?”

Rape is a very sensitive topic even in the civilian world. While it was only recently that rape in the military was given spotlight and media coverage, asking a veteran if they were raped is still inappropriate and insensitive. Asking this question is also an invasion to ones privacy and it can trigger painful memories that were brought about by the said event. As with number 5, it is best to let the veteran volunteer this information, rather than pry.

What can you say about this list? Is there anything you can add?

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