When I was in college and for awhile after, I worked at a Hallmark store. One day while I was cashiering, an older woman and her husband came to the counter to purchase some cards. The man was wearing a Marine/Veteran hat, I honestly can't remember what war it said he served in, and the hat was nothing I hadn't seen before but... I felt like I had to say something to him. I didn't want to though, honestly how silly and cheesy would I sound??? But, the feeling didn't go away. I started to feel hot and weird and like I had a lump in my throat. Finally, as I wrapped up their purchase, I looked right at the man and said, "thank you for serving."
He responded softly, "what?" All I could think was... seriously? I feel akward enough, now I have to say it again to a total stranger!
But, I politely opened my mouth and said, "I assume from your hat that you served in the military, and I just wanted to thank you."
His wife's jaw was wide open, and the man looked up at me with glossy eyes and said, "No one has ever said that to me." I was speechless, I just smiled at him, equally surprised. He smiled back, swallowed loudly and said, "Thank you."
That was four years ago, I still remember the knots in my stomach and his almost tear filled eyes. Saying thank you really isn't as hard as I first made it out to be, and it is a lot easier than putting your life on the line. So, as forced or as unnatural as you may feel, I encourage you to open up your mouth and say thanks.
Happy Veteran's Day!