Most Helpful Girl
Some people genuinely mean it (usually older vets). When it’s delivered as a scripted line, it comes across perfunctory and insincere. When traveling in uniform at airport departure gates for example, I heard “thank you for your service” so many times it was robotic. Every once in a while someone would just say “hooah” and be done with it.
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Most Helpful Guys
same reason people ask people how they're doing... no one cares, but it's customary. i figure most people don't actually mean it... or they do mean it. I don't know but i'm not gonna get butthurt about it. people can do what they want. it's not hurting anyone, and the very least, has a good intent. i do find, or a bit ironic considering a lot of vets seem to hate it. but i have a bigger problem where we treat veterans like piñatas by using them as proxies but that's a discussion for another day
I agree that it comes across as fake.
This trend came about because of guilt over how Vietnam veterans were treated. Years later, even people who treated the returning vets badly realized how unfair it was. People were against the war, but they took it out on the people who were drafted and had no choice.
I was against the war also, but I think I was a bit realistic about it. A lot of the people back then lived in a fantasy world and really believed the troops on the ground were responsible for the continuation of the war. They actually thought when those guys saw the enemy, they just had to lay down their weapons, and the enemy would do the same, and everyone would have a big group hug. Therefore the veterans themselves were responsible for the war.
They later learned how naive that was and developed guilt over it. So all the "Thank you for serving your country" stuff is really a way of saying "Never again will returning war veterans be treated so badly."
While I think it's usually phony and insincere, it's a hell of a lot better than what was done before.