St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

Spend Time Thanking a Veteran and Listening to their Story

Posted on November 7, 2018 at 6:55 AM

Each year, on November 11, the citizens of the United States celebrate Veteran’s Day. On this date and at various times throughout the year, I often hear people thank a veteran for serving our country. While this is a nice gesture, I recommend you take time to go even further then just thanking a veteran.

Since my son has joined the military, I have been surprised at how many veterans have opened up to me to tell me about their time in the service. Now, when I know someone is a veteran, I thank them for their service, but I quickly follow up with questions that open the door to letting them know that I am interested in hearing their story.


Maybe it is because I have a son in the military, maybe it’s because I love learning about history, maybe it is because I love to talk with people, I’m not sure why, but I truly enjoy hearing the stories of our veterans. I also have learned that veterans love to have someone to sit down and talk with about this part of their life journey.

I have learned that some of the best questions to get a conversation started are:

• Which branch of the military did you serve in (if you do not already know)?

• Where did you complete basic training?

• Where were you stationed during your time of service?

• Were you ever deployed? If yes, where were you deployed to?

• What are some of your favorite stories of when of your served?

I must warn you that sometimes these history lessons can turn a bit sappy. Many of the stories I have heard include how they met their spouse and fell in love. Of course, everyone enjoys a good love story.

With Veterans Day approaching on November 11 (although formally celebrated on November 12th this year due to the 11th being a Sunday), make sure to not only thank a veteran but take time to sit down with them and let them tell their story. You will walk away a much wiser person and very appreciative of their sacrifice. Even though it may have been an extremely challenging time in their lives, most will enjoy the opportunity to talk about this part of their life and appreciate you taking the time to listen to their journey. I always walk away from these conversations feeling like a better and more knowledgeable person.

Please join us at St. Patrick School for our annual Veterans Day celebration on Monday, November 12 at 10 a.m. in the school gymnasium. There will be treats served in our parish hall immediately following the celebration.


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