Trying to get a handle on the sudden mistiness that overwhelmed me yesterday afternoon during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony.
From what I gathered, a family friend of our community’s newly minted Eagle Scout traveled a fair distance to honor this young man, say a few words and administer the oath. The gentleman was himself an Eagle and a retired military officer. One could sense that level of accomplishment and character in him.
When the moment arrived and young man’s life long dream was about to become reality, the older Eagle squared himself to the podium and laid out the expectations for the Eagle to be. Although he had long since distinguished himself as an Eagle, the gentleman still resonated with the solemn spirit of that achievement. It is a testament to both the extraordinarily exceptional nature of that level of leadership and the depth of character it can reveal.
The older Eagle pivoted and looked the Eagle to be in the eye. The gravity of the situation was reflected in their eyes. The torch was about to be passed.
As they raised their hands to consummate the oath, they connected, in a way I suspect that only Eagles ever can. The older Eagle did not simply recite some words lifted from a page. He had lived them. He chose the path less taken, and wore that decision he made as a young man as a personal badge of honor. You could tell that the weight of those words and the responsibility they carried, as spoken by the older Eagle, was not lost on the Eagle to be.
This wasn’t simply some club initiation.
The older Eagle was providing the Eagle to be with an opportunity to join him on that road less traveled, to commit to a life of service, exemplified in the exercise of character and guided by the highest moral standards.
The older Eagle was declaring his utmost confidence in the Eagle to be; that he could and would rise to the occasion to become everything that he was intended to be.
The older Eagle was reaffirming his commitment as an Eagle himself, his commitment to the Eagle to be and pledging his sacred honor to us all.
It was a bonding at the purest and deepest level.
Sensing that level of personal connection touched me in a way I won’t soon forget. The mixture of happiness for what they have and regret for what I can never experience brought me to tears.
Yet I am comforted to know that “this” still exists, that it has immense value and is still being preserved and nurtured by the Boy Scouts.
“Thank you” Boy Scouts, for doing the heavy lifting.