Retired General inspires Yongsan during Women's Month
April 3, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- A retired Army general gathered with over a hundred members of the Yongsan Community here to reflect on the contributions of women in history and the role of women in the Army, March 29. During the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade hosted Women's Month event, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Anne Macdonald shared some of her West Point stories and experiences during her 30-year career in the Army.
"In fact, when I departed the academy grounds on graduation day, I never ever wanted to look back," said Macdonald, who was one of the first female cadets to graduate from West Point, U.S. Military Academy. "It was a long, difficult four years. It took many years later, frankly a lot of maturity, to realize it was my West Point experience, the good and the bad, that continues to provide me with the strength and motivation that empowers me in every aspect of my life."
She explained the social landscape of the country, the Army, and West Point at that time. In the 70's, due to the Watergate scandal, it was a time of suspicion and discord. Pulling out of Vietnam without a victory, going out in public wearing the uniform was not the best idea for Military personnel.
These were some minor hardships. Her biggest concern was how West Point treated female cadets.
"A senior Academy leader said in a public forum, 'Women will enter the academy over my dead body,'" Macdonald said this one simple sentence set an atmosphere for the academy that took years to reverse"
She informed audiences with three principles that she set after graduation from the academy. She emphasized that words matter, everyone wants to belong, and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
"This event was so inspiring," said Spc. Rachel Kim, 8th Army Band vocalist, who sang the National Anthem. "I was very touched by the speech and the whole event."