A Gathering of Eagles – UPDATED

This is wonderful and true:

When it is 95 degrees, the two guys you don’t envy are Santa Claus and the man in the bomb disposal helmet and gear.

There were a couple hundred of us, mostly old guys, hiding from the heat by standing under the trees on the Capitol Mall. What distinguished us from the 10,000 or so other marchers resting under the trees beside us was that they were all under 18-years-old and wearing Boy Scout uniforms, while we ranged in age up to seventy-one and were mostly wearing white shirts and khaki trousers.

We were the Eagles, designated as the closing contingent/grand finale of the 100th anniversary parade of the Boy Scouts of America — and our task was to march with the parade down Madison, turn right on 7th, then left for about a mile down Constitution Avenue … all the while trying to look like exemplars of that most famous of boyhood achievements: Eagle Scout.

Towards that end, other than the white shirt/khakis ensemble, we were asked to wear symbols of our profession. Hence the heavily sweating, white-bearded guy in the Santa outfit. “It’s all velvet,” he said with dismay, holding an ice pack to his neck. And miserable as he was, it must have been nothing compared to the military officer in full camouflage fatigues who, just before we formed up, put on his thick, heavy Hurt Locker ensemble, complete with massive helmet.


Read it all, and begin to understand why Scouting matters.

It says a great deal about the values of our political class, that they do not seem to understand that.

UPDATE:
A bit of video here, via DH.

Related:
Great Men You Don’t Know

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Former Explorer Scout, BSA, Ship 52

    I reflected on the fact that what my beloved Boy Scouts of America are doing is teaching boys about what is: REAL.

    Reality seems to be hard for some to accept, truth too.

    Just seeing a Boy Scout is an uplifting feeling for me. I find most of the activities I have witnessed for the Scouts have been ennobling.

    I am so grateful to all the Scout Masters and Den Moms who give so much time to making the boys into real men. They make our nation great. We owe them a debt of gratitude. They are paying it forward in ways we will never quite see on this side of the veil.

  • Former Explorer Scout, BSA, Ship 52

    I might add, I’m a female that was registered as a Boy Scout in high school through the Explorer Division. The skills I learned have helped me through 2 major earthquakes, a building fire, multiple first aid emergencies I had to deal with alone, and being on a sailboat that was sinking. If the Scout Leaders had not stepped up and given of themselves, I may not have learned so many life-saving skills. Skills, I might add, that saved me and others.

    One of my brothers as an Explorer and was allowed to ride along on ambulances. He has assisted at many an auto accident. The positive domino effect is uplifting to contemplate.

    BSA is not a perfect organization and has had issues like any other human institution but I’m still proud to associate with it and am grateful for all I have learned. And, in earthquake country, our motto really saves: BE PREPARED.

  • shirley elizabeth

    My dad did not make it to his Eagle because he did a lot of work with HIS dad through his youth. It is one thing he regrets, and he has enforced the importance and requirement that my brothers all receive their Eagles. He has never gotten to sit in the Eagles’ nest, but just two months ago he was able to put the pin on his eleventh son to receive the honor.

  • Dustin

    shirley, that’s inspiring. I’m sure he’s more proud of his sons than he’s be of himself. Eagle Scout is quite an accomplishment.

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  • http://fineoldfamly.blogspot.com Sally Thomas

    That’s wonderful. I’m bookmarking it to show my aspiring Eagle when he gets back from A.P. Hill.

  • Cynthia

    Great article. It brought me to tears. My son is a Life Scout working toward Eagle. He went to Philmont last year and proclaimed it the greatest thing he’d ever done. Scouting has offered my son and other young men so many wonderful experiences. He has learned a great deal as well. When the economy crashes, I’m counting on his survival skills!

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