November 22, 2013

In Mindy Conway’s Nov. 20 letter [“No ‘thank you’ for military service?”], she asked whether many who have served in the military dislike hearing someone tell them “thank you for your service.” I am retired from the Navy, in which I served during the Vietnam War. Considering the response we received at that time, I certainly appreciate the gratitude we get today. I am sure most vets feel the same. I always acknowledge those who express thanks and reply that it was a pleasure to serve them and my country.

So thank you, Ms. Conway. You are certainly appreciated by us vets, and we are proud of people like you.

Robert E. Jones, South Riding

In response to Mindy Conway’s letter about saying “thank you” to military personnel, I would like to say, “You’re welcome!”

As a recently retired naval officer, I have had unknown Americans pay for my lunch, pat me on the back and say, “Thanks for your service,” hug me in gratitude, send me care packages and letters while on deployment, treat me like a rock star at a football game and more.

To me, it matters less that these events happened to me and more that they happened in the United States, because they reflect our national character. I submit that our military is a much more capable force because of the way Americans treat those who serve.

So, thanks backatcha, and you’re welcome!

Mike Horsefield, Auburn, Ala.

It is commendable that Mindy Conway and her husband sometimes pick up the tab at restaurants for military personnel. If she is really as “old-fashioned” as she claimed, she must know that “you are welcome” is always the appropriate response to “thank you.”

On those rare occasions when I wear my Vietnam Veteran baseball cap, and those even rarer occasions when someone recognizes and thanks me for my service, I always respond: “You are welcome. But you really ought to thank Lyndon Johnson, since he made it possible.”

Blank stares usually follow. What is really too bad is that most of those “rank-and-file Americans” who Ms. Conway said wish to express their gratitude have never themselves worn the uniform.

T.H. Otwell, Silver Spring

I want to emphatically encourage Mindy Conway and her husband to keep doing what they’re doing. I have been a member of the military for most of my adult life, and I am humbled whenever a civilian or fellow vet thanks me for my service. Without a doubt, most members of my squadron feel the same way.

We don’t serve for the thanks, and certainly not for the occasional free meal. But I believe most military personnel are grateful for the recognition.

Ron Broccolino, Baltimore