Veterans Day and "thank you for your service"

I’ve always been at a loss for words when folks say this.

Fellow Vets please give me a heads up on how to respond.

I say you’re welcome and it was an honor to serve.

I’d rather someone ask about my service before bothering to thank me, so at least they know what they’re thanking me for. I don’t deserve thanks for wearing a uniform, but I’d like to think my efforts to keep Naval aircraft flying were worthy of appreciation.

Honestly, when someone says that, my internal reaction is “Yeah, whatever.” I feel like it’s further evidence of plastic patriotism - something one does to be a real American. Yeah, I’m cynical. You want to thank veterans? Then compel your elected representatives to do something about the VA - THAT would be sincere thanks.

They were talking about this very thing the other day on The Daily Show. The OP is not alone when it comes to not knowing how to respond.

Most are like FCM, and would rather have you ask about their service rather than just “thank” them.

If I can’t ignore it, I have been know to reply with “Thank you, but I didn’t actually DO anything.”

This is to distinguish myself from actual combat veterans.

My response is usually “your welcome, it’s my pleasure”. I try to emphasize that I appreciate the thanks, but don’t require it.
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“I like to think we all do what we can, but thank you.”

How much is there to say beyond, “You’re Welcome”. If they ask about my service time, I’m usually happy to talk about it, but just “thank you for your service” is just a polite thing for them to say and I think “you’re welcome” is the polite reply.

I think it makes my dad uncomfortable. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran. I know he’s PROUD of his service and I don’t think he has a “we didn’t do anything over there for Americans” attitude or anything. But he says he has a hard time, say, taking a Veterans’ discount. And he doesn’t like to talk about the war as it is. And he has social anxiety.

Now that he’s an old guy I think he’s easing into it more. In fact he’s at my niece’s school’s Veteran’s Day doing right now with the fancy new Vietnam Vet hat we got him.

Maybe he’s much more willing to take “thank you” from kids and young people who don’t know exactly what Vietnam really means. And not from people his own age or older who may have said some very different things to him when he got home.

It’s become a cliche like “have a nice day”. People say it automatically, which means it has no meaning. I treat it as such and just give a half smile and one of those 'sup head bobs. If somebody wants to actually engage in a conversation about military service, I’m happy to do so, but I really hate being the object of a throwaway line.

“Thank you for your support.” Or just “you’re welcome.”

Throat punch

I understand completely. Yes, I’m a veteran. I served during Desert Storm, did not go overseas, did get a reasonably prestigious medal for activities “in direct support” of the combat mission. I didn’t do it for you. I did it for a lot of reasons, most of which were selfish. You don’t need to thank me. It makes me uncomfortable when you do.

I scowl and say, “I don’t want your THANKS, I want your MONEY,” and hold out my hand, glaring at them.

But then, I’m not a veteran.

Say “thank you for your cowardice,” and then lift one leg and fart.

I always say “It’s my honour to serve.” I like to keep in mind that they are not (usually) specifically thanking me, they are also thanking all of the fallen soldiers they had never met, and ones that served before and with me.

So, because of that, I always try to be respectful in return.

The first time I thanked my brother for his service he screamed, “INCOMING” and tackled me to the ground.

That’s interesting, because as a layperson, I would think it potentially intrusive to ask someone details about their service. I have veteran friends who hate anyone knowing they are veterans, and others who discuss it openly. With someone you don’t know, how are you to guess what the individual veteran will find appropriate, unless you let them take the lead? I guess that’s my dilemma.

Top form today, VT.

Well said. I feel awkward and don’t know how to answer.

I’m a desert storm vet and finally went to my local VA clinic this year. It’s been a wonderful experience. These people got their shit together. Have treated me like gold. Good luck my brethren.