Michael J. Kerrigan


After three books and with over hundreds of articles published in the past ten years, I am ready to share some lessons I have learned in the battle to restore character in our culture.

The first lesson, an excerpt from the movie a Few Good Men, is that the average American, especially today’s millennial’s, cannot handle the truth of what it takes to restore character in our country.

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!  Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines.… Continue reading


Frederick Douglass was the most well-known Black person in America as he bravely fought for the cause of the abolishment of slavery in the United States.

As we proceed on our quest to study heroism, several questions are in need of answers. Readers have helped me identify the many types of heroes, responded to definitions of heroism and are also sharing their personal heroes with me. The next task would be reader’s help in answering the questions below.


Have our heroes vanished and why?

Have we lost our vision of the heroic ideal?

Does our culture stress the cultivation of heroic traits?

Why do we need heroes?

How do we create an environment that is hospitable to heroes?

How do we distinguish between icons and heroes?

How do we choose to honor some as heroes and others as role models?

Can everyone be a hero?

Can anyone overcome their… Continue reading


He was getting old and paunchy

And his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion,

Telling stories of the past.


Of a war that he once fought in

And the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies;

They were heroes, every one.


And ‘tho sometimes to his neighbors

His tales became a joke,

All his buddies listened quietly

For they knew where of he spoke.


But we’ll hear his tales no longer,

For ol’ Joe has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer

For a Veteran died today.


He won’t be mourned by many,

Just his children and his wife.

For he lived an ordinary,

Very quiet sort of life.


He held a job and raised a family,

Going quietly on his way;

And the world won’t note his passing,

‘Tho a Veteran died today.


When… Continue reading


Irish Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton placed this advertisement in London newspapers in 1900 in preparation for an expedition to reach the South Pole….

MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return, doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success. Ernest Shackleton

Shackleton later said of the call for volunteers that “it seemed as though all men in Great Britain were determined to accompany me, the response was so overwhelming.”

Last week, the Character Building Project joined the posttraumaticinjury.org campaign by endorsing  the name change from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI.) Since then our readers have asked to be informed of articles and scholarly papers supporting this change; several of which follow.

An Injury Is Not A Disorder

By Frank Ochberg-  Military Review



Army General Calls for Changing Name of PTSD

Some members of the Army hope that renaming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an injury will encourage more soldiers to seek help.  By Daniel Sagalyn



Possible Compromise on Labeling of Combat-Related PTSD

Some Army officers and mental health advocates have been calling for a change in the “PTSD” moniker on the basis that calling it a “disorder” is stigmatizing soldiers and preventing them from getting the help they need. By Dan Sagalyn



Psychiatric Community Still… Continue reading

Among the many lasting memories of my most recent visit to West Point was to hear stories of old blood and guts…General George Patton. As the GI’s in WWII used to say, ”his guts and our blood.”

General George Patton

General George Patton

In thinking about the following quote from Patton, it occurred to me our exploration of character should expand beyond our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to those warriors in law enforcement who also move to the sound of the guns.

Death must not be feared, in time, comes to all of us. And every man is scared in his first action. If he says he’s not, he’s a goddam liar. Some men are cowards, yes, but they fight just the same, or get the hell slammed out of them.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he’s scared. Some get over their fright in a minute, under… Continue reading

Over the New Year I was reflecting on the numerous blessings God has bestowed on my family and me. Among these many blessings has been the opportunity to  become friends with several wounded warriors, such as, the seven profiled in Courage in America as well as the likes of Josh Andrew, Bobby Dove, Mark Holbert, Ron Silk and other men of valor I have gotten to know. Please see all the warriors photo galleries read their interviews and stories at… http://thecharacterbuildingproject.com/warriors/

Awarded The Medal of Honor and earned numerous other medals and honors

Col. Day Awarded the Medal of Honor and earned numerous other medals and honors

In my opinion, these men are authentic patriots following in the shadow of one of our greatest wounded warriors, Colonel Bud Day. Robert Coram, in American Patriot, his highly regarded biography of Colonel Day, nicely captured the soul of such men:

“Military men are better than most of us. They live… Continue reading


This poem was chosen by Major General John A. Lejeune, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, as his favorite of all the Marine Corps verse written during the war. It is republished here by permission of the author and of the publishers, Reilly and Lee, who hold the copyright.

IT was thick with Prussian troopers, it was foul with German guns;
Every tree that cast a shadow was a sheltering place for Huns.
Death was guarding every roadway, death was watching every field,
And behind each rise of terrain was a rapid-fire concealed

But Uncle Sam’s Marines had orders: “Drive the Boche from where they’re hid.
For the honor of Old Glory, take the woods!” and so they did.

I fancy none will tell it as the story should be told–
None will ever do full justice to those Yankee troopers bold.
How they crawled upon… Continue reading

This weekend I had another session with Dr. Rafael Triana, the notes of which follow.

Military character has a unique legacy through the ages.

Aristotle thought of the military as emblematic of a notion of heroic virtue and the best of society.

Rousseau appreciated military virtues. They were (and still are) based on personal character traits leading to conformance and cohesion to a social (military) order. Military virtues focus on unity of purpose, obedience, loyalty to the leadership, and uniformity of rules. The U.S. Army values promoted today are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

William James in the Moral Equivalent of War, stated… “The war party is assuredly right in affirming and reaffirming that the martial virtues, although originally gained by the race through war, are absolute and permanent human goods. Patriotic pride and ambition in their military form are, after all, only specifications of a… Continue reading

I am mad as hell that…

· 99% of Americans, who have never served in uniform would rather engage in social media, than recognize the sacrifices made by the 1% in uniform, the two million Americans who have served with honor in two wars for over a decade.

· The wars of the 21st century have been “outsourced” by our pinhead politicians to our “all-volunteer” armed forces. The result is a disconnect between civilians and our military.

· The post-traumatic-stress “disorder” label has been placed by pinhead psychologists on the brave warriors returning home from many tours of asymmetric warfare. What is “disordered” is the mindset of politicians who send the warriors to combat and then ignore their true needs for a dignified recovery when they return home.

· The mainstream media does not focus on the men and women of valor who triumph in their successful rehabilitation over their traumatic injuries.

The stunning part of this story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction. Just think how much could have been accomplished if they had the support of their Commander-in-Chief.

The news has been full of the attacks on our embassies throughout the Muslim world, and in particular, the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya. However, apart from the shameful amount of disinformation willingly distributed by the Main Stream Media and the current administration, there is a little known story of incredible bravery, heroics, and courage that should be the top story of every news agency across the fruited plain.

So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya? We are learning more about this every day.… Continue reading

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