It made me cry both times.
This happened me on my first trip back from the war. We were passing through the airport in Chicago and people began to applaud. We had a layover and most of us went to buy McDonalds or Pizza Hut or whatever – the stuff we hadn’t had for a while. Many folks bought us lunch and generally were very nice to us. On my last trip back (March 2006) we were largely ignored – just another traveler in the airport.
More than once when I’ve been out in public and wearing my
U.S. Air Force
baseball cap, people have said to me “Thank you for your service!”