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Why Veterans Have Mixed Feelings When You Say 'Thanks For Your Service'

Army veteran Wes Moore explains.

As a paratrooper and a Captain in the United States Army who served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in 2005-2006, Wes Moore has made it part of his mission to advocate for his fellow veterans. What Moore wholeheartedly believes in, he says, is the power of conversation and how it can benefit military members returning home from overseas.

“The best thing to happen for service people who are coming back is, to us, to be able to actually have real conversations with them and know that there won’t be that fear of what that conversation will trigger,” he says during an interview on OWN’s “SuperSoul Sunday.”

These conversation-starters, Moore continues, can be framed as questions. 

“I came back wanting to tell stories about my guys,” he says. “You know, ‘What was it like working with the Afghan army?’ These are things I actually wanted to talk about, if people were curious enough to ask.”

Though many people communicate with veterans by saying, “Thank you for your service,” Moore points to a reason why this sentiment can rub military members the wrong way.

“The reason why service people have a very mixed feeling about even that statement is because ‘thank you for your service’ oftentimes is the end of a conversation and never the beginning of a conversation.”

“SuperSoul Sunday” airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN. You can also catch up on full episodes on demand via the Watch OWN app.

Another insight from Moore:

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