10 Questions Veterans Will Gladly Answer

As a U.S. Marine serving in Viet Nam, I know how uncomfortable it is to share my war experiences, and I know how difficult it is for my loved ones to even broach the subject.

Like many combat veterans, there are things I will NEVER talk about. Truth is, my military life isn’t defined by blood and guts alone. War aside, and even in the theater, life in the military is often filled with fond memories of friends, humor and discovery.

Contrary to popular belief, most veterans would enjoy reminiscing with loved ones about their military life. The problem is that loved ones don’t know how to ask.

With this in mind, I have complied a list of 10 questions that can start the conversation with any veteran. Trust me, you won’t be asking, “Did you kill anyone?” These are questions that elicit stories most loved ones want to know and veterans are glad to share.

To my fellow comrades in arms, you are in my heart and mind this Veterans Day. I encourage you to share your stories because they can enrich your family in so many ways. For veteran families and others, ask the 10 questions below to get the conversation started.


1. Why did you pick the service branch you joined?

2. How did it feel to leave home?

3. How did you get through boot camp?

4. What was your main job assignment?

5. Where did you serve the majority of time in service?

6. Was there something you did for good luck and when did you use it?

7. Which medals or citations did you receive and for what?

8. Did you pull any pranks or did others pull pranks on you? What were they?

9. How did you feel the day you were discharged and how did it change your life?

10. Do you stay in touch with comrades? Who and how?


Tom is recognized around the world as the leading authority on helping elders pass down their wisdom and life lessons to future generations. Utilizing a decade of field research, having training over 5,000 caregivers, Tom and his team developed client-enrichment tools and resources for financial advisors, estate planners and senior consultants that deliver immeasurable added value. His award-winning solutions are being used by advisors in many of the nation’s top organizations and firms. His free innovative resources include the LegacyStories.org website and mobile app voice recorder. Tom also authored the interactive Legacy Stories Handbook with 230+ legacy questions, legacy letter templates and more, as an easy to follow guide for families to interview and record their elder’s wisdom and life lessons.