NGAUS, NGEF Aid 'Shutdown Refugees'

Since the start of the federal government shutdown last week, NGAUS has been “always ready, always there” for disappointed tourists and wayward delegations without a museum to visit or a venue for an important meeting.

When the government partially closed on Oct. 1, myriad federal offices and institutions locked their doors, turned out the lights and wound down electronic contact with the world. No emails were answered. No tweets distributed.

Among those left stranded were hundreds of students on trips to the nation’s capital. Many of them have found their way to the National Guard Memorial Museum not far from the shuttered museums along the National Mall.

Two days after the shutdown, the museum operated by the National Guard Educational Foundation was visited by 150 students from the National Youth Leadership Forum who had planned on touring the Smithsonian museums. We sent them through our museum in 50-person “waves” throughout the day.

The following day, 60 visitors from a Florida academy attended briefings and tours. Soon to follow were 114 middle school students from Indianapolis. We are preparing for more visitors this week who have reached out to NGEF as a port in a political storm.

We are happy to provide these stranded “shutdown refugees,” as we call them, with an opportunity to view our galleries and take home knowledge about the National Guard’s history.

While the museum has benefited from the shutdown in this way, the National Guard Memorial building has been a similar sanctuary. We welcomed Tuesday the Congressional Coalition Adoption Institute for two pinning ceremonies. About 270 visitors filled our Hall of States for a breakfast meeting and afternoon event because a Capitol Hill venue was unavailable.

The group included Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn.

Landrieu noted, “The National Guard is there – always ready to help.  They took us in, and this whole group here are men and women from all over the country nominated by members of Congress who have done something very brave, courageous and generous on behalf of orphans and foster kids.” 

NGAUS and NGEF are happy to be able to put the motto and the reputation of the Guard to good use.

The history of the National Guard is a long and rich one and it is our goal to teach any and all comers about the significant role this community-based force has played in the evolution of the United States, both as a military force and as a beacon of hope when domestic disasters—or even a government shutdown—strike.

Anne Armstrong is the deputy director of the National Guard Educational Foundation.



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