About saying Thank You:
… keep the thank you simple. Most veterans enjoy being told ‘thank you for your service’ and then most want to move on to a different topic. They generally do not want to get into old war stories. They do like to talk about their buddies. The most memorable part of military service, the part that you want to remember, is how much and how important the other people in uniform became to you when things got tough. Things being tough or bad didn’t matter so much as long as your buddies were there and were OK.
I’m still in contact with Army buddies that I met way back in 1974. We are fast friends forever.