Bonus 2: Questions for Veterans

To our Veterans

To all those who have served and protected our way of life, we say thank you.  We are truly grateful for your service and sacrifice. The following is a list of questions or writing prompts that can be used to write about your time in the armed forces.

For some, experiences in the military – especially for those who were in combat – are too private or even painful to talk about.  If you are thinking that right now, it may be better to skip this, at least for now. With more time, you may want to tell those stories.  If you aren’t sure, read the questions and decide which ones, if any, you wish to answer for your personal tale.

  1. During what time period did you serve in the military? Be specific with dates. What were the wars or conflicts or other national or world events during which you served?
  2. What circumstances precipitated your service? Did you enlist or were you drafted? If you volunteered, what was your motivation?
  3. Why did you choose your branch of service? What was your role, or roles?
  4. Describe your first days in the service. How did it feel? Were you homesick?
  5. Tell about boot camp. What other training experiences did you have? What did you learn? What do you remember about your instructors?
  6. Where exactly did you serve when you were deployed? What was your job or assignment?
  7. Were you involved in combat? Where and when? Describe in as much detail as you are comfortable sharing.
  8. Did your unit have casualties? Did you lose comrades or friends?
  9. Write about a few of your most memorable experiences. Were there good times or positive experiences along with the bad ones? Reflect and take time to pass on your memories to your posterity.
  10. Share lessons learned from your time in the service.
  11. Did you see miracles? Think about times you were protected and blessed.
  12. If you became a prisoner of war, tell about your experiences.
  13. Tell about any medals or citations or other special honors you were awarded.
  14. Think about life in the service. How was the food? Did you have sufficient supplies? Were you able to communicate with family back home? What did you do in your time off duty?
  15. Recall friends with whom you served. What did you do together? Did you stay in contact after the service?
  16. Can you remember a humorous or unusual event that happened? Did you pull pranks or put on entertainment?
  17. If you have photographs from your time in the service, label them with names, dates, and location, and tell the story of the photo.
  18. If you kept a diary of this time period, review it and record key memories.
  19. Do you have any souvenirs from your time in the service? If so, take a picture of them, label, and write the story of the souvenir.
  20. When and how did your service end? How did it feel?
  21. What did you do after you left the service? Did you use the G.I. Bill to go to school?
  22. Do you belong to a Veterans organization? If so, what activities do you enjoy? Do you attend reunions?
  23. What did you do for a career after your service? Was that decision influenced by your time in the military?
  24. How did your experiences affect your thinking about war?
  25. How did your military service and experiences influence the rest of your life? Take time to ponder and consider.