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11 Things To Keep In Mind When Talking To Veterans

We can all go beyond saying "Thank you for your service." NAPA AUTO PARTS has teamed with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to help salute all of our troops and military families.

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When we meet a veteran, many of us opt to say "Thank you for your service." Sometimes, we say this because we don't know what else to say.

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This statement always comes from the right place, but many veterans feel uncomfortable and don't know how to respond. And many sense that the words lack real meaning.

There are better ways to connect with someone who has served.

First, some things that you should avoid when speaking to a veteran:


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If you have not served in the military, then you won't be able to fully understand a veteran's experience. Don't compare something difficult that you've gone through with the difficulty of combat.


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Just because someone looks physically like he or she survived their time in the military unscathed, that doesn't mean that it has been easy to return home. Assuming that everything is OK reinforces the invisibility some veterans feel.

So what SHOULD you say? Here are some productive ways to talk to a veteran:


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This simple question acknowledges that a veteran has been through something big, and it opens up the conversation so that they can talk if they want to.


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Be supportive without being intrusive. Many veterans want to talk about their experience (and some don't). Give veterans the space to talk if they want to, and really listen if they choose to share with you.


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Expressing interest in an individual veteran's situation shows them that you genuinely care and want to hear about their experience.

NAPA AUTO PARTS is teaming up with the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund to help heal returning military personnel suffering from psychological health conditions like PTSD or TBI.

View this video on YouTube

To learn more about how to help veterans with PTSD, click here.

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