GMC News

Grisamore Speaks to WR Grads

Congratulations! Now what?
By Ed Grisamore

I’ve sat through so many commencement speeches they’ve all begun to sound the same.

Usually, somebody stands up and starts with all the cliché advice.

Dream big. Reach for the stars. Be all that you can be.

This past Saturday, I had the honor of being the commencement speaker at graduation for Georgia Military College’s Warner Robins campus. I even got to wear a cap and gown, something I haven’t worn in years.

The graduating class was only 44, small by most college standards, but an impressive crowd gathered at the Homer J. Walker Civic Center to honor these new grads of the two-year school.

Earlier in the week, I had wondered what kind of advice I could give them. Some were older, already married with jobs. They were simply going back to get their degrees.

Here is some of the advice I shared with them:

I told them to show gratitude. They did not make it to graduation day alone. They should thank their familes. Thank their teachers. Thank the friends and classmates who stuck by them.

I told them to always look people in the eye when they are talking to them, that people love to hear the sound of their own name and, if they saw somebody without a smile, to give them one.

I told them if they always told the truth, they wouldn’t have to remember everything they said.

I said whenever they meet a veteran, they should shake his hand and thank him for his service to our country. And, if they see a man or woman wearing a military uniform, they should thank them, too. We are here because they are there.

I told them prayer is the most powerful thing in the universe. I told them they should go to church every week. The Good Lord gives them a week, they can give him back an hour.

I told them to never trust a blinker and to look both ways in everything they do.

I suggested they never pass up a rest room. If they saw one, take advantage of it. You never know when you’re going to find another one.

I told them state patrolmen already have heard every excuse, so they should save their breath.

I told them although everyone remembers that Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs, he also struck out 1,330 times. You cannot have success without failure.

I told them to 1) Have fun and 2) Be Good. I got this piece of advice from a local minister. He tells this to his daughters every time they leave the house. And by that he means this: Have fun, but not so much fun that it gets you in trouble. And be good, but don’t be so good that you don’t have fun.

And I told them never to forget that we make a living out of what we get. We make a life out of what we give.