Talking to a veteran seems simple enough, but when the vet is right in front of you there can be some hesitation. What should I say? What shouldn't I say? Could I say something insensitive?
At Texas State a lot of the vets in school meet up sometimes for lunch. It's a good place to ask what not to ask a vet.
"Don't immediately go in with have you shot anybody...that's not a way to start a relationship with anybody," said Arnold Aquilar of the U.S. Army.
"I got asked once what the most realistic wartime videogame was...and I was trying to honestly answer it but as I thought about it more I was like that's really, really dumb," said Miles Nelson of the U.S. Marines.
So what should you say?
We asked Jack Swope, a counselor at the Samaritan Center in Austin, who's also vet, who works with veterans when they return home. He says lay off the war movie clichés.
"Just show some interest in what they did. What branch were you in, what were you doing. I was in the infantry. Oh I understand that is pretty strenuous. Is there something that stands out that you are proud of?" Swope said.
He says people naturally like to talk about what they did well and the good things.
Now as for asking about the bad things...don't. Would you ask someone you just met if they are mentally ill? Then don't ask about PTSD. Would you ask someone you just met if a family member died violently? Then don't ask a vet if he's lost a buddy.
So what's the bottom line on talking to vets?
Former sailor Blake Alistar said, "I would say just recognize us as regular folks, to me we did our job, that's what we got paid to do for our country and we just want to blend in with everybody else now."
And what about the old standby of "thank you for your service" most of the vets we talked to said that's great. Their usual response to that is "thank you for your support."