When strangers thank you, what should you say?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is a Vietnam veteran who is retired from the military. When we go out and he wears his “Vietnam Veteran” hat, people often come up to him and say, “Thank you for your service.”

What is the proper response to this? Answering “thank you” does not seem correct. I suggested “Thank you” but he said it doesn’t sound good either.

SOFT READER: “I was just doing my duty.”

The other answers you mention are also acceptable, but this is a polite and modest answer that Miss Manners hopes will satisfy those veterans who recall encountering less charming comments from the public. Or, as in the case of the more recent veterans Miss Manners has heard of, those who believe that more than appreciation is required from their fellow citizens.


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