Fervor can get in the way of the best behavior. On Veterans Day, above all else, find ways to be specifically sincere to the veteran.
It’s easy to rely on our personal belief systems during interactions with others. But it’s ideal to approach some matters from neutral perspectives, to maintain brevity of message and good will. Take Veterans Day for example: when speaking to a room of veterans, wouldn’t you aim to ingratiate 100% of your audience? If so, stay neutral.
Of course, location matters. Addressing a church congregation, we can take odds that religious reference as a part of good-will messages are expected, if not appropriate. However, in speaking to public or those we don’t know well (even in church, could we agree?), it’s a bigger gamble and challenge to construct a good will message in such a way as to not offend the sensibilities of those we wish to prop up. Neutrality is key in establishing bonds of strength.
An op-ed by Army veteran and assistant state director of American Atheists calls out the general public on this issue that affects veterans and their peers emotionally, and likewise beseeches a reform of all-too-common behavior that we could consider lazy, or challenging, on the part of those who perpetuate some of the messaging commonly heard on Veterans Day in public arenas.
Read about some of the challenging behaviors taking place in U.S. military public service:
We hope you’ll consider these suggestions, enacted, to be a form of common etiquette (that traditional social skills-code and touchstone for times when our considerations don’t naturally extend beyond ourselves). When we don’t know someone personally and cannot be confident that isolating terms of belief are appropriate, it’s better to find broadly appealing ways to show our respects.