America has been in multiple overseas conflicts over the past couple of decades. We have gone to war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and some veterans have spent time in both of those countries. If you’ve got a veteran in your family who came back from an overseas conflict recently, you are probably very happy to see them, and they’re likely pleased to be home as well.
You may wonder what you might do to make the returning veteran in your family feel more comfortable or happy. Here are five concepts that you may wish to consider.
Take Them on Vacation
There are plenty of things that veterans can’t enjoy when they’re in an active warzone. They might feel in such situations like they can never relax. Taking them on the vacation of their choice is a very nice thing you can do with them once they’re back on American soil.
You might check out activities in Myrtle Beach, SC, for instance. Some of the hotels there are very reasonably priced, and there are fabulous seafood restaurants, world-class golf courses, or you can charter a boat and go fishing. Maybe you can head to Las Vegas instead, where the casinos are mostly open again following lengthy pandemic-related closures.
You might also check out New York, New Orleans, or Los Angeles. Talk to the veteran in your family and see which of these cities appeals to them the most. This will be their well-deserved vacation, so they should have the final word on where the family goes.
Don’t Force Them to Speak About Their Experiences
You also might not be entirely certain about what the veteran in your family did overseas. Maybe they did not see a lot of action, or perhaps they saw more than they’d like to reveal to you.
Whichever the case is, they might want to talk about it as a way of coping. If so, you should be there to listen. Some soldiers want to speak about their combat experiences or their time in the service, while others prefer to keep that part of their lives to themselves.
If they don’t want to talk about it with you, you should not press them. Combat and overall military experiences can be intense, and they can also be deeply personal. If it does turn out that the veteran in your family wants to speak about some service-related issues, they might prefer to talk to a licensed psychiatrist instead.
Give Them Their Space if They Need It
You also might find that your family’s veteran, when they come home, can return to their life with perfect ease. However, some of them may not be able to adjust to civilian life quite as easily. It’s different for every vet.
If your family member needs a little space, give them that. If they are your spouse or partner, they might want to sleep alone for a while till they readjust. They might have nightmares. Many soldiers who see combat come back with PTSD, and that’s not the easiest thing to get past.
If they have finished their overseas tours for good, they will probably get better in time if they’re not doing so great immediately after their return. You need to be patient with them. Surely you still love each other, but combat can be traumatic. Even if the veteran in your family did not see any direct action, going from the military back to civilian life can be jarring.
Help Them Figure Out Their Next Logical Career Move
You should do all that you can to help your family’s veteran decide what they want to do next. If they’re older, they may choose to retire. If they’re still relatively young, they might want to put their skill set to use in the private sector.
You’ll have to talk to them about what their best career move is. There are particular niches that treat veterans well for their skills, such as law enforcement and the security industry. Some of the abilities soldiers have translate very well to those professions.
Some particular companies go out of their way to hire vets. You can get aid from veteran’s agencies to help with placement if your family member isn’t finding employment right after their discharge.
Take Them to Their Favorite Sporting Event
If you can’t necessarily take them on an elaborate vacation when they get back, either because you can’t afford it or for some other reason, you can still do something else nice for them. Maybe you can take them to a live sporting event that they would enjoy.
Playoff basketball is happening right now, as is playoff hockey. Baseball is in full swing, and PGA tour events are going on. If your family’s veteran likes any of those things, and you live close to one of the venues where they’re taking place, that might be something they’ll enjoy that is not as expensive or time-consuming as a full-blown vacation.
If they’re not into sports, you can always take them to an art museum, an arboretum, a national park, or anywhere else they would like to go. Talk to them and see what appeals to them the most.
More than anything else, you need to remember that military careers can be some of the most stressful situations that exist, even for individuals who are never in combat. The military is often a grueling experience that it can take many years to get over. Some soldiers have a genuine aptitude for it, but these individuals are few and far between.
Make sure your returning veteran knows that you love them and you’re delighted that they’re home. It might be an adjustment for the entire family, but there is no reason why you can’t all resume your lives together in a happy, healthy way. You owe it to your family’s returning veteran to cherish and respect them for their sacrifices and courage.