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Citadel News Service

Office of Public Affairs

May 1998

Regimental Commander Brett Strand's Comments at '98 Baccalaureate Service


          What better place to begin the celebration of our graduation than this chapel. It stands as a striking symbol of all that is special about a Citadel education. We are so privileged to be at an institution of higher learning that still respects the existence and omnipotence of our Creator, that still bases its educational philosophy on a fundamental set of morals.

          Just a few short months ago, we gathered here to place upon our right hands the symbol for everything this institution stands for. It is now left to us as graduates to use our lives as symbols.

          In a growing culture of apathy, cynicism, and selfishness, we must be different. We as Citadel graduates must hold dear what the world dismisses. We must cherish what is right in the face of all that is wrong. We must care for others when no one else will.

          The world needs more men who do not have a price at which they can be bought; who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency; whose handshake is an ironclad contract; who are not afraid of risk; who are honest in small matters as they are in large ones; whose ambitions are big enough to include others; who know how to win with grace and lose with dignity; who do not believe that shrewdness and cunning and ruthlessness are the three keys to success; who still have friends they made twenty years ago; who are not afraid to go against the grain of popular opinion and do not believe in consensus; who are occasionally wrong and are always willing to admit it. In short, the world needs leaders.

          Members of the Class of 1998, my friends, my brothers, we have shared four years of our lives, countless moments of pain and struggle, and the incomparable joy of making it through together. Let that stage we cross on Saturday be the threshold of a legacy. As we leave this place, we must realize that the "road less traveled" does not end here. In choosing The Citadel, we have chosen that road for life.

          They prayed, "Give me a boy, O God, who is willing to learn the true value of honor, the necessity of perseverance and loyalty, and the meaningfulness of devotion to God and country." Here in this chapel tonight, the Class of 1998 sits as the band of brothers who chose to answer that prayer. May we leave this sanctuary having set ourselves apart for service to a Higher Cause, never forgetting that it is God who gives us breath, and Him that we owe all honor and praise.

          May God bless The Citadel, and may God bless us, the Class of l998.

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