Every year on November 11, we celebrate the service and sacrifice of the 19.6 million active and former US soldiers who have gone to war.
This year, to observe the holiday, the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a national non-profit organization of mental health clinics for post 9/11 veterans and their families, launched an awareness campaign entitled ''Beyond Thank You for Your Service.'' Its main aim is to connect veterans and civilians in more meaningful ways, CVN said.
As part of the initiative, CVN commissioned Veterans Day Survey 2019 to bridge the divide between veteran preferences and civilian actions. The study was conducted online from October 10-14 among 2,019 US adults ages 18 or older, among whom 218 are US military veterans or active-duty service members.
The study found out that almost 49 percent of active and former members of the military service feel uncomfortable with the expression ''Thank you for your service.'' As many as 91 percent of the Americans use this expression, the study revealed.
An anonymous veteran working at Cohen Clinic in Washington told the researchers that he felt uneasy when civilians say, ''thank you for your service'' as he did not know what to reply.
The majority of service members and veterans who participated in the poll admitted they would prefer civilians to interact with them on a more personal level instead of saying a simple ''thank you.''
The veterans revealed they preferred questions about when they served, for how long, and what specific jobs they did while on deployment.
CVN CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan commented that showing interest in the veteran's story about their time in the army is one way to engage beyond just saying thank you for your service.
A veteran from Tennessee suggested that instead of ''thank you for your service'' civilians may contribute to the veteran community in different ways - by coaching a sport, giving a class, or going to veterans home and sitting and listening to the stories of former military service members.
Tim Farrell, CEO of the National Association of Veteran Service Organizations, added to the discussion, pointing out that the best way to support our veterans and active-duty service members is to invest in diplomacy and development to more countries in the world to bring stability and peace.
What do you think? Do you support or oppose the statement that we should stop saying ''Thank you for your service'' when approaching a veteran and ask some more personal questions about their time in the army?