WE ARE AMERICA
One hundred million of us, for over a century, have honored our God and served our country in the mercantile and the military, as authors, accountants, and astronauts, as country doctors and congressmen, surgeons and senators, generals and governors, business leaders and barbers, stay-at-home parents and stalwarts of our communities, cooks and chefs and chiefs of police, veterinarians and volunteer firefighters, presidents and professors and preachers. Some of us move on from our youthful pursuits; others stay on—members of this movement for life. Some two million of us live or have lived in the rare aerie of the Eagle.
We’ve found and given steel and rubber to our wartime factories twice and food to our nation’s hungry for decades. We’ve sold war bonds for our country’s supreme commanders and mowed the lawns of our aged neighbors. We build birdhouses for sanctuaries and paint new stripes on our schools’ parking lots. We convince everyday people to donate blood, some for the very first time, and show our peers how to survive when lost in the wilderness. We know more than most about first aid, water rescues, building shelters from blizzards, what to do in emergencies, and how the governments of our cities, states, and country work than most. In 1917 there were more of us—by twice—than soldiers in the U.S. Army. On Oahu, Hawaii, by late morning of December 7, 1941 we’d set up First Aid stations and sent our comrades out to man air-raid sirens across the island. Fifteen years later, we visited 36 million homes to encourage voting in the presidential election of 1956. We’ve served at the inaugurations of seventeen presidents and at the funeral of one of our own. Eleven of us have walked on the Moon; led there by the first, the Eagle.
Our presence is known and respected throughout our country’s military, enlisted as well as at West Point, Quantico, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, Kings Point, and New London.
We value justice, respect proper authority, can be trusted to keep our word, and we still practice the almost lost art of removing our caps and hats when we go indoors.
We’ve been to the North Pole and Antarctica. We’ve piloted biplanes, P-38s, F-16s, 747s, and Space Shuttles. Some of us have died in air combat, others elsewhere including tragic space launch or reentry mishaps. Yet we persist in rising ever higher in altitude because that’s exactly what we learned to do when we were young and forming in our lives the things we held as valuable, noble, and right.
The blood of countless numbers of us has dried to dust long ago in the trenches and on the beaches of France, in the Alps and the broad plains across Europe, in the volcanic ash of Iwo Jima and the sands of a hundred beachheads across the Pacific, and, more recently, in the jungles of south-west Asia and the mountains and deserts of the middle-east. At Arlington and beyond across our nation, and in countless green fields of other countries, the brave and best among us lie in eternal peace with their brothers in arms beneath silent white crosses and stars.
We are Buddhists, Christians, Hindi, Jews, Muslims and more. Our colors are the spectrum of races. Yet we steadfastly and cheerfully greet one another as brothers, always. We see the good in the world about us, and we aim to make it better. To those who might be urged to joke about us and what we stand for we extend our hand in friendship as well, forgiving them their ignorance and sometimes jealousy.
We are known for respecting for country’s flag and traditions, and on June 14th each year we retire with reverence those which must now take respite from flying high. Then, at a thousand summer camps across the continent we briskly salute as we raise the stars and stripes every morning.
Our uniforms make rather less than fashion statements–as if that were their purpose–but they do serve to make us one, united. For a century you’ve seen us in parades each Armistice Day and now Veterans Day, each Independence Day, each Decoration Day and now Memorial Day.
We are America…yesterday, tomorrow, and right now today. We are the Boy Scouts.
Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to email@example.com. Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)
[No. 312 – 5/28/2012 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2012]