Michael J. Kerrigan


Recently, I was honored to accept the invitation to become a member of the Board of Directors of The Joe Foss Institute(JFI) . JFI is a nonprofit organization in the United States that aims to promote an appreciation among students for the American tradition of liberty, the country’s military history, and patriotic values. It was founded in 2001 by flying ace and politician Joe Foss, and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.[1]

American Patriot Joe FossJoseph Jacob “Joe” Foss (April 17, 1915–January 1, 2003) was the leading fighter ace of the United States Marine Corps during World War II and a 1943 recipient of the Medal of Honor, recognizing his role in the air combat during the Guadalcanal Campaign. In postwar years, he achieved fame as a General in the Air National Guard, the 20th Governor of South Dakota, President of the National Rifle Association,… Continue reading



Decades of statistics from a growing number of social scientists seem to concur that the collapse of the American community is due to such factors as:

  • An increasing divorce rate
  • Secularization of society resulting in a reduction in religiosity
  • An increasing number of babies born out of wedlock
  • Civic disengagement
  • An increasing number of citizens opting for a welfare state

While our civic culture may appear to be wasting away unable to actualize the vision the Founding Fathers had for America, the trend need not continue. Americans might raise the collective bar of responsible citizenry by taking advice from our Founding Fathers.

Our Founding Fathers believed that citizens can be left free as individuals and as families to live their lives as they see fit; that they can come together to solve problems shared by the community; and that virtues like integrity, industriousness, responsibility and religiosity are bound up… Continue reading

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

Our study of character continues with the interviews and stories of warriors with character recovering from traumatic combat injuries. While many among us consider these warriors as moral exemplars of our times and often thank them for their service, we still often fail to appreciate the virtues evident and the sacrifices made by these wounded warriors as they struggle to overcome traumatic injuries from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

The Character Building Project aims to change this situation. It highlights how our wounded warriors develop virtues, and put them into practice, particularly the virtue of courage amidst adversity. By placing young military heroes front and center for all to see, The Character Building Project reminds us all, including young Americans who have not known service to our country, that cultivating the virtue of courage is important in our citizens and critical to the successful recovery of our war wounded.

The… Continue reading

The Character Building Project readers have responded to our June 28th post by suggesting many more questions for consideration in our study of Courage in America. At this stage of our research, our inquiry has to do with how young Americans in the military learn about courage, character, sacrifice, and sadly, death. Later we will probe how the example of ten virtuous leaders might pass on these lessons to their civilian contemporaries. Here are the questions suggested by those readers interested in our continuing study of character. Continue reading

Before the Character Building Project claims an honor code should be required for candidates and possibly Members of Congress, let’s look deeper into the code of honor at the University of Virginia. As we see by the excerpts below from the official UVA site, the code began as a pledge, evolved into a code of conduct outside the classroom and has become a system of enforcement. Totally student run, without “adult supervision,” the system has, as our three UVA law school graduates tell me, worked well. Continue reading

Many posts on the Character Building Project (CBP) focus upon ways one can correct actions in order to be better (or, if not better, at least not as bad). Our strategy is to first identify what is wrong, and then point the reader toward a better way, our shared positive moral Judeo-Christian culture. Continue reading

Today, I shared with several friends and interesting piece by Frank Lutz’s 11 Words for 2011. I read Frank’s article in the Huffington Post* of all places. My pal, Eric Rubenstein quickly turned Frank’s counsel into a most compelling speech: Continue reading

Bob Hall, a Marine and member of our character community http://www.characters-with-character.com/blog/2011/1/25/semper-fi-bob-hall.html is helping build character in America in many ways. Today’s contribution is with a poem to his granddaughter that I’ve included at the end of his essay, which follows. Bob’s granddaughter is now ten. Bob may not with her through her teen years, as Bob has IPF. I know the poem will also be useful to others who wish to influence a child’s future. When appropriate, I intend to share it with my six granddaughters. Continue reading

Today as all the members of the House of Representatives and one-third of those in the United States Senate take their oaths of office in the Capitol, the citizens that elected them call for honor and true success to mark the 112th Congress. Continue reading

The October 1 post said we’d get around to the topic of leadership. Well, we’ve arrived! Our starting point? Actually, it’s a bit different from what I’d envisioned then. What’s changed in the meantime? To answer that fully requires going back a couple of years.

The occasion was a big NOAA stakeholders meeting. NOAA leadership had invited maybe a couple of hundred folks for a full day of discussion. They gave us several bursts of information in plenary, but our time together included a couple of breakout sessions. At one of these, I found myself sitting at the same table as a fellow by the name of Michael Kerrigan. Mike is the founder and principal of Kerrigan & Associates, which he describes in his own words as a “management consulting and advocacy firm focused on creating business opportunities in the private-public sector.” Continue reading

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Courage in America has been aurally transcribed for the visually impaired, thanks to Volunteers of Vacaville, California. Tel: 704.448.6841 ext 2044.