Miss Manners: Miiltary funerals, a delicate dance

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dear Miss Manners:

We members of the military would be honored if you could address military funeral etiquette for Veterans Day.

For those do not know: It is not necessary for you to stand to receive the U.S. flag. We expect that you are in distress with the loss of your family member.

We are saluting our fellow service member for the last time after we give you the flag. We do not expect you to return our salute.

We may be silent when you thank us. We are being silent as our fellow service member is now forever silent. Do not think we are rude for our silence; it is out of respect to our fellow service member.

We are not at the graveside of a fellow service member for you to thank us. It is a duty to serve this country that we have accepted. Just as your loved one did at some time during their lifetime.

Indeed, Miss Manners is grateful to be of help in this small way. She only adds that she is sure that your understanding of the emotional state of the bereaved means that you would not take amiss any such spontaneous, although unnecessary, gestures of gratitude.

Dear Miss Manners:

When someone does something for me I say "thank you" to them, and I have noted some younger people respond by saying "no problem." Is the response "no problem" an appropriate response to my "thank you"? I personally find the term "no problem" to be negative and inappropriate.

What is an appropriate response for me when someone responds to my "thank you" with "no problem"?

It does not require an answer, but it does require an adjustment.

It is true that the traditional resonse to "thank you" is, in English, "you're welcome." In some languages, it is an equally traditional declaration that there was nothing for which to thank -- a version of "no problem," which slipped into common American discourse a decade or so ago.

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