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25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt: The Importance of Telling Our Story

“If our closest neighbours don’t know our story, how can we expect the country to?” 

Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt 

Anna-Michelle Shewfelt

Working as the Assistant Editor for e-Veritas, I see the job as helping to tell the story of Canada’s military colleges. This obviously includes what’s going on at the colleges currently and involves current Cadets but it also includes ex-Cadets of all ages. e-Veritas tells the stories of what we as ex-Cadets do after graduation and even after we leave the military. It is, in short, our story.

I say that so you’ll understand what I mean when I say that my ears perk up some when I hear others talk in similar terms. At the November Kingston Branch luncheon which I had the privilege to attend, for example, 2572 MGen (ret’d) Frank Norman gave those present an update on the RMC Museum project. One of the things he stressed is that the role of the museum is to tell the story of RMC, “a story that needs to be told,” as he put it. (For the full article see here.)

Now I will admit that the luncheon was the first time I had ever heard in detail the proposed plan for the museum, but as I understand it the planned location for it would attract visitors to Fort Henry and not just tourists but those from the community as well. One of the things I have learned now that I live and work in that community is that our closest neighbours don’t always know us as well as we might think they do. They know more or less where RMC is (although I’ve learned you can’t take that for granted) and they know in a general sense what goes on here but that, more often than not, seems to be it. In short, they don’t really know our story.

With the various studies that have been done recently on the value of the College, I have heard talk of advocating for the value of RMC on a more national level. That, to me, means re-introducing the country to our story. And while that is certainly important, I wonder if it isn’t going about things the wrong way. If our closest neighbours don’t know our story, how can we expect the country to?

One Comment

  • Tom Rozman

    February 5, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    An excellent comment that I am sure resonates with all. As applicable as the comment is for RMC, its alumni, the community and nation RMC is part of and serves, it resonates for sister academies as well. The comment, though specific to RMC’s context, applies from my sense of such relationships as discussed in the article to USMA, USNA, USAFA, USCGA, Citadel and VMI. I have been on all of these campuses and noted the arrangement the schools have had with their local municipalities particularly. All in developing their programs over the years have organized quality museum programs that from my observation and experience play significantly in interpreting the schools’ history and programs for the local and more extended communities to national level. I believe this is especially the case for prospective cadets and midshipmen, some at young ages we might not expect the story to resonate with. To illustrate, I was affected personally by a visit to the museum at West Point as a visiting 12 year old Boy Scout. The visit influenced me to seek an appointment six years later. Again, this is an excellent comment.