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Citadel News Service

For Release
February 25, 2003

Flag ceremony to tug at patriotic spirit
as country prepares for possible war

          The General Westmoreland Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars and The Citadel will conduct the 6th annual Massing of the Colors ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 9 in The Citadel's Summerall Chapel.

          Citadel President Maj. Gen. John S. Grinalds is the keynote speaker. Grinalds, who hails from Macon, Ga., came to The Citadel in 1997 from Woodberry Forest, a private boys' prep school in Virginia. Grinalds is a 1959 graduate of the United States Military Academy.

          A Rhodes Scholar, General Grinalds has served abroad in the Mediterranean region, the Panama Canal Zone, Japan, Belgium, and for two tours of duty in Vietnam. During one of those tours, he was awarded a Silver Star for heroism in combat. From 1982 to 1985, he served as special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, working in delicate negotiations between NATO and the French military. Because of his outstanding service there, French President François
Mitterand inducted him into the Legion d'Honneur, a rare honor for an American colonel.

          In 1986, General Grinalds received the rank of brigadier general before beginning an assignment serving the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was later promoted to major general and, in 1989, became the commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.

This year's ceremony holds special significance as U.S. military troops prepare for the possibility of war in the Middle East.

          The Massing of the Colors ceremony pledges faith in the colors of the United States. It begins with a procession of flags some 40 people long. The patriotic service is dedicated to men and women who gave their lives to preserve liberty and honor in the United States and to those who have served and continue to serve to ensure freedom.

          The first Massing of the Colors ceremony was conducted in 1922 on Armistice Day at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. Initiated by the Society of the Massing of the Colors, MOWW took over the direction of the ceremony in 1950.

          Participating groups are expected to include The Citadel Color Guard, ROTC and JROTC units, as well as active military commands and units, retired and former military personnel, civic leaders and lawmakers, and youth groups such as the Navy League Sea Cadets and local scouts.

          The Massing of the Colors ceremony is free and open to the public. Guests must be seated inside Summerall Chapel no later than 2:45 p.m.


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