TRURO - It's as simple as simple can be but for those on the receiving end, it has no measure.
"Oh it makes your whole day, maybe even your whole week. It never gets old," said Brigadier-General Hilary Jaeger of the Canadian Armed Forces, referring to the act of strangers who offer a ‘thanks' to those in uniform for their services.
Those who join the military potentially put themselves at risk, but generally do so because they want to be useful, said the 53-year-old Jaeger. And to have that sense of usefulness reaffirmed by a complete stranger is a powerful motivator.
"... you see it quite often in the United States, I have reason to be in the States quite a lot, and even in a Canadian uniform, you often get people who stop you in the street and say ‘thank you' for your service," she said.
"And that is something I think everybody can do. So if you see somebody who is wearing a Canadian uniform or a veteran wearing his blazer with his medals on ... and if they get personal thanks, it is recognition that somebody thinks they are useful."
Jaeger, who is currently seconded from the Canadian Forces to Veterans Affairs Canada as the Director-General of Health Professionals and National Medical Officer, is scheduled to be a guest speaker at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in Truro following Sunday's Remembrance Day ceremonies.
She began her military career as a private soldier at age 17 with the West Nova Scotia Regiment and has moved up through the ranks following tours in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Afghanistan among others.
As one who has enjoyed a successful and heralded career, Jaeger has come to recognize the importance of Remembrance Day, not just for the aging veterans of the Second World War and Korean War, but also for those who came before and after.
"There is a strong sense of idealism amongst people in the armed forces," Jaeger said. "I think it's worth reminding people, yes, of the sacrifices of all the people who have fallen or been injured in war, but perhaps a bit broader to remember and be thankful for just the fact that people were willing to undertake that risk."