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We always hear that we should thank a veteran, but thank you is too short of a conversation.

While the free beers and free lunches tomorrow will not go unappreciated, the best way to celebrate Veterans Day may be a simple conversation with those who served.

The greatest gulf between veterans and those who didn’t serve is the experience. Military service, particularly in wartime, grants a perspective that is difficult to understand for those who weren’t there.

Although we can’t be there with them for what they experienced, we can be there with them today. If there is a veteran in your life, make an effort to talk with them and listen. Ask to see pictures or ask them to relate an experience.

Remember that for most veterans, time in the service wasn’t all gloom and doom. In fact, it may include some of their happiest memories. They may be more than willing to reminisce about old friends and discuss an exciting chapter in their lives.

A few conversation starters may be:

Where were you stationed?

What did you do there?

Who were your closest friends?

Are you still in touch with anyone with whom you served?

What do you remember the most about your time in the service?

Every veteran carries a little piece of history with them, and Veterans Day is the perfect occasion to spend some time with a friend or family member and connect with that history.

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