It is the custom around here that any time someone is identified as a veteran of the armed forces, people say “thank you for your service” to them. There was a time when veterans were sometimes treated with disrespect—after the Vietnam war, for example. On a day like to day set aside as a national holiday for veterans, going out of one’s way to thank them seems appropriate. On other days it seems a little odd to put “thank you for your service” in the same socially required position as “how are you?” and equally meaningless.
Serving in the armed forces is a difficult and demanding job, sometimes requiring great sacrifice, sacrifice that can extend long after leaving the service. I also keep in mind the families of veterans for their sacrifice too, and firefighters, police, social workers, nurses, pastors, school teachers, paramedics and a host of others who work hard for the good of others, often at great personal sacrifice.
So to our veterans and all these others, “thank you for your service.”