keith, hate to date myself, but when i was in the military we were only allowed to travel in dress uniform. it was not a time when people were saying thanks for anything. i was glad when they changed the rules and we were not allowed to travel in uniform. it became dangerous with the hijackings and stuff. it meant struggling into a set of dress blues in some head before reporting in, but that was ok.
after desert storm things changed. it was like people were waiting for a chance to be proud of the military again. they thanked us, paid for meals, etc. even got upgraded to 1st class on occasion. same thing happens now with my red cross adventures.
it is a bit embarrassing, but i came to the conclusion that it made people feel good to do these things, so i have learned to accept them with good grace. if it is their way of saying thanks and it's a small thing, it's ok.