Michael J. Kerrigan


Since some are better navigating this site than others and for my Face Book friends, I have stated below the mission, vision, brand and insight of the Character Building Project.


To foster character building strengths, relationships and meaning in a rising generation of citizens by sharing the stories of successful and ethical leaders who presently serve or have served others in military, education, public and private sector careers.

To generate greater meaning, purpose and engagement in life’s satisfaction by belonging to and serving the character community and the community at large.


To enhance character development by writing, researching, teaching, speaking and leadership that illustrates the relationship between character development and the individual’s reasoning skills, moral will and self-discipline.

To reclaim the study of character as a legitimate topic for the layman.

To establish an authoritative and credible BLOG thereby expanding a conversation about the importance individuals of good… Continue reading

This morning’s thoughts on Today’s WSJ article, “Social Media CEOs in the Dock.”
Perhaps Mr. Jenkins in his next article would do well to explain the disruptive technologies deployed by Uber, AirBnB and Facebook. In the meantime, see an excellent explanation of such disruption by two MIT PhDs called The Platform Revolution.
Today’s CEOs seem to woefully short on taking responsibility for their decisions. President Abraham Lincoln, one of our country’s greatest leaders, in a letter to General Grant after the surrender of Vicksburg, simply stated…”I now wish to make a personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.”
It takes a particular type of leader to behave the way Lincoln did on this occasion and many others. May we cultivate and train leaders who exhibit responsibility.



Hopefully, all the readers of The Character Building Project will have time to read, The Meaning of Their Service in today’s WSJ. For those who cannot make time, I offer a few excerpts from the article by General Mattis, a retired four-star (U.S. Marine Corps) and former commander of U.S. Central Command, and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.

General Mattis call to revive the American spirit is reminiscent of scene from Shakespeare, Henry V (“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…”) a speech to rally the warriors in the English camp.

Here follow a few excerpts from, The Meaning of Their Service, General Mattis explanation of how veterans can help revive American optimism.

So long as you maintain that same commitment to others and that same enthusiasm for life’s challenges that you felt in yourself, your shipmates, your comrades and buddies, you will never… 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

Our last post asked, what values guide Americans in civilian life? We then discussed the Military Code of Conduct to better understand the values and rules of behavior for those in the military. That post also raised the idea that 99% of Americans enjoy the blessings of freedom without carrying many of the burdens. Now we address how to bridge the civilian-military gap.

My long time friend and an active member of Patriot Guard Riders,
Patrick Segui introduced me to the Code of Support Foundation. COSF believes all Americans have an obligation to share responsibility for our country’s national defense. The foundation engages in programs dedicated to bridging the gap between the American people and the less than 1% who serve in uniform.

Patrick explained to me one way civilians can help close the gap with our military is by visiting the COSF web site http://codeofsupport.org/ and adding their… Continue reading


MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Thirteen executives from industries such as national security, telecommunications and an international beverage conglomerate, went through simulated ethics training here at TBS on Jan. 5. The participants came to The Basic School to learn how the Marine Corps teaches ethics in everything they do, using honor, courage, and commitment as the pillars to their foundation of decision making.

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The Character Building Project holds that our nation’s schools, including our elite universities should develop character programs for all its students. These elite schools can do so by looking to our military academies and religious schools who already train rising leaders to have the wisdom to know what is the right thing to do, the skill to do it, and the virtue to persevere until it is accomplished. Continue reading

We continue Todd’s profile; first by learning his views on courage, next we can appreciate Todd’s views on combat, then we are in awe of Todd’s heroic gift of confidence for the future, especially, considering the devastating injury he has endured. Continue reading

Yesterday I had the honor and privilege to meet Todd and Crystal Nicely, two Marines, both American heroes. The Nicelys will “anchor” my book Courage in America. In the weeks ahead, I hope to identify nine other “characters with character” to join them in a cast of heroes. Your help in identifying other heroes from our military that might approach the caliber of Todd and Crystal is very much invited. As you will see from visiting Todd’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Todd-Nicely-Wounded-Warrior-Benefit/109240662434558), the Nicelys set a very high bar. Continue reading

Robert A. Hall is a good friend of The Character Building Project. The former Massachusetts legislator, blogger (www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com) and fellow author brought to my attention and now yours, an excellent article from the Jewish World review. For your information, royalties from Bob’s recent book

(The Coming Collapse of the American Republic: And what you can do to prevent it) http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Collapse-American-Republic-prevent/dp/1461122538/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304815980&sr=1-

go to charities to help wounded vets. Continue reading

Yesterday’s post encouraging readers to forward articles they think of interest to the Character Building Project begot an opinion piece from today’s Wall Street Journal. The article is by John Garvey, the President of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  Reverting to single sex dorms is, in my opinion, a practical answer which will encourage good habits.

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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.