What to Say to a Veteran on Veterans Day

American Flag Thank You Veterans

When you stop to consider what being a veteran means, saying a simple “Thank you for your service,” seems to fall short. How can you show your gratitude to a veteran for their service and sacrifice?

Just as every person is different, there are different ways to say thank you that might mean more to some than others. We’re here to give helpful suggestions of what to say to a veteran on Veterans Day so you can better honor those you know who have served.

Who Is a Veteran, and What Is Veterans Day?

There’s no need to get hung up on this one because a veteran isn’t limited to someone who has been deployed or fought in a specific war. A veteran is anyone who has served in the military and wasn’t dishonorably discharged.

Veterans Day is November 11th to honor those who have served in the American military. Unlike Memorial Day (which is a somber day to remember those who died in service), a happy Veterans Day can be wished to those who served without seeming insensitive or ignorant of the holiday's purpose.

To the Veteran in Passing

If you see someone wearing something that gives away their veteran status, it’s a safe bet to approach them. People don’t wear clothes or hats that display something they’re ashamed of or want to keep to themselves.

To that veteran you don’t know and don’t have much time to interact with, a simple “Happy Veterans Day” or “Thank you for your service” speaks volumes.

To the Veteran You Know

Depending on your relationship with this veteran, it could look like any number of things. You could take him or her out to dinner to show your appreciation, or spend quality time with them in a way of their choosing.

The conversation doesn’t have to be all about their time in the service, but a few questions you could ask could be, “What is the best thing you experienced while in the military?” Or “What are you most proud of about your time in the service?” Try to keep the focus on positive things, because depending on their years in the military, it could be too easy to recall the bad.

Writing a letter to a veteran (especially of the older generation) is also a good way to show your appreciation and respect for their service. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages, either. A simple patriotic-themed card with a heartfelt note will mean a lot.

Ask a veteran if there’s anything you can do for them, even if it’s sweeping the sidewalk or emptying the dishwasher. If you both are religious, you could ask to pray with them. If they are struggling while applying for veteran assistance, you may be able to help them through it.

Honoring someone you know and love doesn’t have to be a complicated set of exercises. Simply speak from the heart and it will be the perfect thing of what to say to a veteran on Veteran’s Day.

What to Say to a Veteran on Veterans Day (or Any Day)

Anyone who chooses to risk their life defending our rights is worthy of our gratitude. Veterans Day is a good chance to remember them, but our thankfulness doesn’t need to be limited to one day. Knowing what to say to a veteran on Veterans Day can apply to any day.

For more information on helping out the veteran in your life with benefits and eligibility, check out our useful article on the topic.

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