Just thought I'd share...
I was eating supper a few nights ago at one of my favorite local restaurants, and upon getting my check found out someone had paid for my meal and that of my fiance who was with me. I was in my military uniform, having gone there straight from work, and was told someone did it as a thank you for my service. I saw who it was, but I did not know them.
That happens often enough to not be really uncommon, actually. Sometimes folks ask about deployments overseas, sometimes folks just say thanks for serving. That is really nice and I appreciate folks' sentiments when they do that but I honestly don't know how to respond, especially when folks pay for things for me. I was paid for my service already by all of you, and you all paid for the training and gear and medical care and everything else. One of my deployments (I've had three) had a farewell parade, and one of them had a welcome-home parade. It's pretty uncommon to get any hassle from folks over it all too, even from those who oppose the wars in the big picture. So I don't feel taken advantage of or scorned or any of the negative connotations we've heard of from some folks in the past.
A simple thanks is nice and appreciated, but I honestly feel bad getting a dinner or something from folks who already paid my way in the first place. If you thank someone or do something similar and get a response that seems a little embarassed or awkward, that is likely the reason.