Do Veterans Like Being Thanked

Do Veterans Like Being Thanked? Behind the Salute

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

After attending various Veterans Day events in my local area, I have seen numerous individuals express genuine appreciation towards veterans.

The simple “thank you for your service” often resonates deeply, but do Veterans like being thanked?

As I had the privilege to talk to some veterans, I’ve noticed that saying thank you to them can be more complex than it seems. 

That’s why today, I’ll share whether veterans genuinely appreciate being thanked and explore the complexities of this straightforward gesture.

Do Veterans Like It When You Thank Them?


While some veterans value appreciation for their service, a poll by the Cohen Veterans Network reveals a noteworthy perspective, which is that 49% of veterans don’t prefer being thanked. 

“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.”

Charles B. Rangel, American Politician

This insight emphasizes the significance of understanding individual preferences, as some may find such gestures uncomfortable or insincere [1]. 

Acknowledging veterans’ diverse viewpoints and adjusting our approach accordingly ensures our gratitude is genuine and well-received.

Do Veterans Like To Hear “Thank You for Your Service”?

Veterans’ response to the phrase “thank you for your service” varies. While some appreciate the sentiment, others consider it insincere or cringe. 

Personal preferences come into play, with some veterans preferring alternatives like “thank you for your sacrifice” or “thank you for your courage.”

As such, considering individual viewpoints and adapting our expressions of gratitude accordingly ensures a meaningful exchange with those who have served their country.

Find out how you can greet a veteran on Veterans Day here.

Why Don’t Some Veterans Appreciate Being Thanked?

Veterans’ discomfort with gratitude comes from various reasons. Some find it challenging to respond appropriately, while others want to see actions instead of just words.

Additionally, some veterans perceive the phrase as a means for civilians to alleviate their guilt for not participating in military service. 

Understanding these reasons helps us show appreciation in ways that veterans genuinely value and understand.

Find out how you can make a veteran feel loved here.

Is It Rude Not To Say Thank You To A Veteran?

No, it’s not considered rude to not say thank you to a veteran. Many veterans themselves have shared that they don’t expect or require thanks. 

Some veterans even express that they don’t particularly seek or need appreciation. 

While showing gratitude is appreciated by some veterans, it’s not an obligation, and there’s no universal expectation among them for such gestures.

Find out if it is respectful to salute a veteran here.

What Can You Say Instead Of “Thank You” To A Veteran?

Instead of a simple “thank you,” consider heartfelt alternatives like “I have my freedom because of you,” “You’re my hero,” and “Your service shaped our nation into what it is today” carry more personal and meaningful sentiments. 

These phrases acknowledge the profound impact veterans have on our lives and emphasize the significance of their sacrifices.

“While some veterans cherish ‘thank you,’ others seek gestures that echo their commitment and courage.”

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Using these words, we go beyond a mere thank you and show genuine respect for their service and contributions.

How To Show A Veteran That You Appreciate Their Service?

US Veteran

1. Attend Community Events

Participate in local gatherings or ceremonies that honor veterans. These events allow them to express gratitude collectively and show support for their contributions.

2. Listen to Their Stories

Reach out to veterans you know and ask them to share their experiences. Patiently listen to their stories, showing a sincere interest in understanding their journey.

3. Help Homeless Veterans

Extend kindness by buying a meal for a homeless veteran in your community. This small act provides nourishment and acknowledges their service and current challenges.

Read: Essential Items That Veterans Needed The Most

4. Display The Flag Correctly

Show your appreciation by properly displaying the flag. Adhering to flag etiquette [2] demonstrates reverence for the values veterans defended while serving their country.

But how do you commemorate Veterans Day at work?

5. Outdoor Bonding

Engage veterans in outdoor activities they enjoy, such as hikes or fishing trips. 

This shared experience fosters camaraderie, offering a chance to connect personally and express gratitude through actions.

Also Read: What Should You Get A Veteran For Veterans Day?


Why don’t veterans talk about their military service?

Veterans often avoid discussing their service due to the painful memories of combat. Their reluctance comes from a desire to shield their families from emotional distress. 

By withholding information, veterans not only protect loved ones from present pain but also potential anxiety in case of future deployments.

Check out these tips to explain to preschoolers about Veterans Day here.

What challenges do most veterans face?

Many veterans encounter post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, and health issues resulting from toxic exposure. 

These issues can manifest years after their service and impact various life stages, leading to job loss or other crises for veterans.

What can you do to show veterans your respect?

Demonstrate respect by acknowledging their service and emotions while listening to their advice.

And provide veterans a platform to share their stories, enabling them to contribute and be heard.

Find out the meaning of when a veteran salutes you here.

Key Takeaways

In my conversations with some veterans, I noticed that not all feel the same way when people thank them for their service. Some veterans like it when people say thank you, but others don’t. 

Other veterans think it’s not sincere, and some would rather see people show their appreciation through their actions instead of just saying thanks. 

Ultimately, it’s essential to recognize that not all veterans expect or require thanks, and understanding their diverse viewpoints ensures that our appreciation resonates with them on a personal level.


Kimberlee Johnson
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