The Questions a Veteran Wants You to Ask

With Veterans Day coming up on November 11, we thought it appropriate to take some time looking at questions every veteran would like you to ask. Here at Pathways Home Health and Hospice, many of our patients in end of life care are veterans in Santa Clara and elsewhere, and they just want to be heard. Here is a look at some of those questions and answers.

Are You All Soldiers?

In a nutshell, no. Each ​​branch​​ of​​ the U.S.​​ Military​​ has its own mission, with different services, rankings, uniforms, and more. Only army personnel are soldiers. Use references such as “military personnel” or “veterans” rather than generalize with “soldiers.”

Are Reserves Part of the Military?

Yes, they are. There are two ways to serve in uniform in the U.S.:

  • Active Duty (full-time job)
  • Reserves (trained to serve one weekend a month or two weeks a year, but have a daytime civilian job)

Both teams balance and complement each other.

Is Everyone in the Military in Infantry?

No, not everyone is in tanks or on patrol. There are 1.4 million people in Active Duty over the five branches of the U.S. military, and Reserves have 800,000, according to PsychArmor. Within that, there are many jobs that don’t involve infantry, and many backgrounds from which people come, from technicians and mechanics to cooks and administrators. There are also lawyers, doctors and musicians. Each job in the military has different physical and mental demands.

Are You Always on Duty?

There is no off day for those in the military. They are always on alert, ready to defend the country. Readiness is a full-time job. Even when on leave, anyone can be called in immediately at any time, often on a moment’s notice.

Did You Ever Kill Someone?

There is a misconception that all veterans have killed in combat but this isn’t true for all. But that being said, no veteran ever wants to be asked this question. Therefore, you should refrain from asking it. If they have, they certainly don’t want to talk about it and relive the experience. It’s not a source of pride or glory.

Do You All Have PTSD?

No. Combat can certainly be traumatic and PTSD can result, requiring treatment. Many people who experience trauma do not develop PTSD. Most in the military recover from these events and go on to lead productive, fulfilling lives. everyone responds to trauma differently. Be sensitive to those who do have PTSD, but at the same time, realize not everyone suffers from it.

Is it Hard to Ask for Help?

Yes. The military has a long-standing reputation for promoting physical and emotional perfection. It can be very tough to overcome that stigma of always saying you’re fine and there’s nothing wrong. It’s getting better though. The stigma isn’t as prevalent as it once was. Even so, it’s hard to ask for help. Reach out to us every once in a while to see if we need it.

Do Your Families Serve With You?

Yes. The experience of the whole military family is unique and challenging. We are frequently separated from our spouses and children for long periods of time. Oftentimes, we have to move every couple of years, uprooting everyone. This can take a toll on a family. But this all makes us resilient, adaptive and flexible — all excellent qualities to have. So, remember: it’s not just the person serving that is in the military; it’s the whole family. Stop and think about their sacrifices as well.

Did You Serve in the Military? Which Branch?

We want you to ask us about our service. We are proud of it. Ask us when and where we served, and which branch we served in. By asking us which branch, this shows us you know there are distinctions. Also, ask us what our specific job was. By acknowledging our service and being curious about it, you are showing us that our military service matters.

What Was Your Best Day in the Military?

Everyone will have a different response. Ask us. We are happy to talk about the best day we had in our military service or on deployment. It’s best not to ask about the worst day. And remember: don’t ask if we’ve killed anyone.

The term “veteran” isn’t a one-size-fits-all title. Each service member, even within the same unit, has had different experiences. Some are painful, some are triumphant and some are both. Don’t make assumptions about a service member’s experience; instead, be sure to approach your conversations with care, advises

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

If you have a veteran in your life who needs end of life care, or if you’re a family member going through hospice with a parent already, please contact us to learn about our hospice or bereavement support services at 888-978-1306.