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Thread: Do Veterans like being "thanked for their service"?

  1. #16
    There are other phrases that have become obligatory. I've always thought "How do you do" sounds strange and makes
    no sense. But the etiquette books cite it as the only proper thing to say to someone to whom you are being introduced.
    The books also say it has no proper answer but "How do you do". I suggest that "thank you for your service" might get
    the same status in the books, might have already happened.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    Twenty-seven years in Reserves. During that time, I was often in uniform in public or traveling in uniform. After 9/11, people were pretty emotional and the thanks was heartfelt. After a few years, I got a bit jaded, and unlike Dave, sometimes got irritated and judgmental. Kids saying thanks always got a warm response. High school & college age kids, I often suggested that they were welcome to join too (I meant it, but they usually cringed). Middle-age folks, if they were working, I'd thank them for their service right back (sincerely). Other folks, I'd judge their sincerity and sometimes thank them for paying their taxes, to see what their reaction would be. Sometimes, you can tell they really meant, "thanks for your service so my kids don't have to" including a couple of co-workers who said as much. Hearing from veterans meant more. Some folks that had to add political commentary - that I never appreciated.
    Last edited by Stan Calow; 01-02-2020 at 2:40 PM.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lawrence View Post
    ...I did it for my family, my community, and because I felt I had a duty to...
    The only vet I personally have a friendship with was part of the Navy during the first Gulf War. He doesn't advertise his service history and actually will not discuss it in casual conversation, but was one of the "team"-guys that has been popularized in the media lately. I asked him once about how he felt about the publicity the current generation of team guys seem to be seeking with movies, books, social media, etc. His reply was that it was an honor for him to serve his country and there was no other reward needed beyond that. That was his job and he did his job. He's a real regular guy, I wish him a happy Veteran's Day on FB every year, and most of our conversation is about stuff entirely non-military.

    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Blog Entries
    I am more inclined to show my appreciation for any WW2 vet I see, my grandfather included, who still alive.

    IMO, that was the greatest generation and there are very few left.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Falls Church, VA
    Blog Entries
    My thanks to all that responded and to moderators that allowed this thread a bit of latitude. This is a question that has bugged me for a long time. I was never comfortable as a non-veteran offering up an automatic “thank you for your service”. My preference, if the person is willing to talk is to take a genuine interest in their experience and try to learn from it.

    humorous story: I narrowly missed being drafted to Vietnam Nam so never served. During the first gulf war, a friend had a son in Iraq with the rangers. I lived in Kansas City which happens to be the national headquarters of the VFW. I thought it would be a nice gesture to get the parents a blue star banner. So, having just had my knee replaced, there I was outside the VFW hobbling along on crutches. I swear, I couldn’t go ten feet without someone stopping me on the sidewalk and thanking me for my service. At first I tried to explain but soon gave up and just acknowledge them. I knew it was undeserved but I guessed it made those folks feel good. I figured I would find a way to pay penance and the opportunity presented itself the next weekend. My wife and I were in a nice restaurant and there was a couple a few tables away. He was a marine in full dress and she was in a wedding gown. A quick conversation with the manager and their bill was paid.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    My wife and I were in a nice restaurant and there was a couple a few tables away. He was a marine in full dress and she was in a wedding gown. A quick conversation with the manager and their bill was paid.
    That was classy Roger.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Since it's never a sure thing, how it will be taken, I just wouldn't say it.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I didn't serve in the military and I'm uncomfortable with the automatic phrase. I choose to vote for officials who will actually support veterans and their needs and not just wave the flag. Back when I traveled a lot and almost always had an upgraded seat it was fun to anonymously swap seats with a soldier or sailor in uniform on the flight. It always seemed to be appreciated.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Peters Creek, Alaska
    As a veteran...MSgt, USAF (Ret)...I don't mind being thanked but "you're welcome" always sounds like I'm taking too much credit, so I usually respond with "it was my privilege." I've run into a few of the younger generation who followed mine who respond that they're only doing their jobs. I respect the humility but my take on it is, if I can thank my restaurant server, my grocery bagger, or my doctor, I can certainly thank a vet.
    Peters Creek, Alaska

    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Luna View Post
    I usually respond with "it was my privilege."
    That is better than anything I have every come up with. Thanks for posting it.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    ... I served during the Viet Nam and first Iraq conflict, but never served in either location or any other war zone. I did have stuff thrown at me and endured verbal abuse during the Viet Nam era...
    Musta been rough on you. (Personally, I'd edit out the italicized part of your post and the related part of my post) Thank you for your service.

    I served in Vietnam from Jan '67 to Feb '68. While it is sometimes somewhat uncomfortable to hear others thank me for my service, I accept it with good grace because it makes them feel better somehow. I thank them for saying so. And I have become accustomed to thanking other vets for their service, whether or not they saw combat.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #27
    I'm in the group that thinks "Thank you for your service" is cliché and I never know how to respond. I often think of saying, "Well, you know, I didn't have a choice." But I understand that people want to acknowledge my service and I appreciate that.

    Truth is, from the time I went in, I just wanted to survive and get home.

    US Army 68-71
    Vietnam 70-71
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 01-03-2020 at 9:42 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by John Makar View Post

    . It picked up after Clinton's draft evasion became known.
    Don't forget that the elder Bush bought his son a "free ticket" to stay out of the war. Never served. Father was put out of service in WW2 due to breaking a leg in a mess hall at Fort Benning. They sent him home to help on the farm, and drafted his younger brother to take his place. The two times I was elligible for the draft, older brother was in Nam (two tours.)

  14. #29
    Oh, it's very much bi-partisan. Lately the (D)s seem to be making a point of recruiting vets for congressional races. We'll see. The main rule I see in politics is the almost certainty both sides will miscalculate and overplay their hand.

    Understand I'm not bitter. My life is immeasurably better because of my Navy time. Some of the same people who were down on me sure were envying later when the VA wrote my home loan, and my BS paid for by the 'Bill was getting me jobs they could never imagine.

    We won the Cold War in the N.Lant., we had to. I have never had doubts about the importance of that. They were good, had to be to run diesel boats on the surface of the Norwegian Sea in February, but we were better. Neither Clinton or Bush will ever know that feeling.

  15. #30
    Okay folks, this is straying into politics, lets keep it about the vets or the thread will be closed.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

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