So many reasons to give thanks


MG John S. Grinalds
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
President, The Citadel

Although people commonly associate Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Indians at Plymouth, it was not until 1863, a period of crisis for our nation, that Abraham Lincoln named Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Then as now, in the midst of turmoil, setting aside time to give thanks for our blessings helps us change our focus and reset our priorities, even if only for a day. This great American holiday, with its religious and historic roots, serves as a reminder that we are the beneficiaries of many gifts both large and small.

Among many other things, this year I am thankful:

  • for the grinding din of machinery that greets me as I walk around campus, signaling steady progress in the construction and maintenance of buildings here;

  • for the privilege of living in a community where honest people will turn in a credit card lost in the football stadium;

  • for the breathtaking sunsets over the Ashley River that fill me with a sense of peace and serenity;

  • for members of our staff who come in early or stay late to keep The Citadel running smoothly, serving as role models, offering support and otherwise providing for the needs of our cadets and CGPS students;

  • for dedicated, talented members of the faculty who serve as mentors and role models, sharing their knowledge to develop the intellect and enrich the lives of our cadets and CGPS students

  • for our cadets who come to this demanding environment for their education because they understand that The Citadel will prepare them to be principled leaders who can think critically, face challenges, encourage teamwork and serve others;

  • for our CGPS students who look to The Citadel to further their education and enhance their abilities, often balancing work, family and school in order to better contribute to their chosen professions;

  • for members of the Board of Visitors, our many Citadel volunteers, parents, alumni and friends who have a passionate interest in the college and freely devote their time, energy and money to help The Citadel continue its mission of educating principled leaders;

  • for our elected officials who must address complex needs with limited resources, working tirelessly for the betterment of our localities, state and nation;

  • for The Citadel which stands firmly grounded in the education of the whole person and has the guidance of generations of alumni who, though their opinions may differ, have the best interest of the college at heart;

  • for our nation - the greatest nation on earth - that is blessed by abundance and strengthened by a resolve to accept the demands of leadership in a world that is less than perfect.

As we enter this holiday period with its many celebrations and traditions, let us all give thanks for our family and friends, for The Citadel and for our nation. All have made us better people and have presented us with a richer life than we could ever deserve.