It is common for someone to approach a man or woman in our military's uniform and say "Thank you for your service."
In a bookstore I used to work in I once observed a soldier(who just happened to have been deployed to Iraq) observe this eldelry man wearing a black hat encrusted with military insignia. The hat indicated that he had been in some major conflict from the past, I really don't remember, I'm guessing it was WWII or Korea. The soldier kind of observed the old man for a second, then approached him and said "Thank you for your service sir."
That was pretty awesome...at least to me. This soldier, a senior NCO that had been in a hot spot, had a deep respect for his predecessor. The expression on the soldier's face demonstrated a true reverence for the old man, his thanks was really genuine.
We should have the same gratitude for our religious. They give up a life in this world to serve us and by doing so ultimately God. They take care of the poor, the sick, teach, provide spiritual assistance and make awesome beer.
"But, I'm not sick, or poor, or even like beer, how does some monk in a monastery making fruitcake serve me?"
Well, around the world there are men and women that dedicate their lives to pray for the rest of us.
Rest assured, we are all covered, thanks to our brothers and sisters in consecrated life.
So the next time you are int he airport and you see that Marine in his service alphas, walk over and thank him for his service and if you happen to see a group of Dominican sisters, thank them for their service.
Semper Fidelis et ad majorem Dei gloriam