5675 Dennis Apedaile and 5992 Jim Barrett catchin’ up

Dennis Apedaile and Jim Barrett catchin’ up: Museum , W of H, college days, and more…

Morning Jim (still morning in Alberta),

I was just scanning e-V and saw [for the first time] your item on the RMC Museum. Having a heritage bent and having done heritage  volunteer work off and on for the past 20 plus years, I was especially pleased to see that the torch for continuing the RMC museum still burns.

My time, energy and declining resources are on to other things now, but I wanted to send a signal of thanks for the work you and your team do. Do you get support from the Foundation?

As you will know, our Class of 1963 produced the Wall of Honour. We are now working on transition of stewardship to (we think it will happen) Class of ’75 – the last year when we can easily use just to numbers for the date. About 6 of us, with huge on the ground effort by Ted Davie, have done that task since it ‘opened’ in ’09.

BTW, I have a few original grad ball sketches by 1858 AB Connolly ( I think). Once I can dig them out from a recent move, I intend to bring them down to the College. I have those because my father was 1884, me 5675 and my son 25276.

I believe you were a recruit in my flight at CMR in 1960…

Regards,

Dennis

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Dear Dennis,

Yes I remember you well from our years in Maisonneuve Squadron. In 1960 I was a junior in 11 Flight, but I wish I could recall who made up the Flight HQ. The Yearbook doesn’t help much. I seem to have more vivid memories of my recruit flight seniors- perhaps because they paid more attention to us and we made a greater effort to avoid that attention. I remember those years at CMR very fondly. It was a wonderfully formative experience for a unilingual kid from Newfoundland, an introduction to the rest of Canada and especially Quebec at the beginning of the Quiet Revolution. Thinking back, those three years were an extraordinary education, one that has given me enduring context and insights that I never would have gotten had I stayed in Newfoundland. I grieved when CMR was closed in 1995, and rejoice to see its restoration, though I wonder if the current model can be sustained in the long term.

Thank you for your very positive, supportive letter, which I have shared with others on the project team. I hope you will forgive the time it has taken me to respond. My original thought was to wait until our series of articles in e-Veritas was complete, but that took me straight into the maelstrom of Christmas visits and visitors. However as we enter the New Year and prepare to take the next steps, it really is time to write those who have taken the time and trouble to write us.

The Veritas and e-Veritas articles represent the opening phase of the Museum campaign, meant to inform our community, to gauge initial reaction and, also, to reveal issues and problems we have not thought of. Thanks in large measure to Bill Oliver, these articles brought forth a strong and largely positive response along with some thoughtful advice and opposing views. When the fund-raising team begins its work in earnest, it will start with a clear picture of a supportive ex-Cadet community.

The Colleges’ stated mission is to develop young officers, but our message must be that the impact of the Colleges goes well beyond producing an annual cohort of young officers. In that regard, I have become increasingly enthusiastic about the Wall of Honour. As the list of honorees- deceased and living – grows in length, so too grows the power of its message. The central role of the Colleges in building and sustaining our national life is not well understood, and certainly not by the military community. But if one purpose of a military college is for cadets to grow up immersed in a military ethos, which is an ethos of public service, then the vision of your Class and the vision of the Heritage and Museum Committee mesh well with the mandate of the College. Some years ago, I visited the Museum at St Cyr. It was more than a museum. It was also a memorial to St Cyriens and the service they had given to France and the world. No one who has spent time there could doubt what is expected from the graduates. It is my hope that the new RMC Museum and Welcome Center can convey that same message to both cadet and casual visitor.

Thank you again for your letter. I am most encouraged by the strong support in the responses for the notion that the Colleges have played, and continue to play, a significant role in the development of Canada, and that the purpose of the Museum is to tell that story to the nation. In a country now less rooted in the older traditions, and less impressed by the idea of elites, the future of the Colleges will depend in no small measure on how well we tell that story.

Perhaps our paths may cross when you bring the Connolly sketches to the College. In the meantime, all best wishes for 2017!

Best regards,
Jim

**

Jim,
Many thanks for your note both nostalgic & forward looking. I share your view, so well expressed, about the clear, positive roles for both the Museum and the Wall of Honour, definitely symbiotic endeavours.

Cheers — for now,

Dennis