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History Of The Eagle And Man Ceremony


Room is in darkness. Flags are still in place at the front of the room from the opening ceremony. At the front is a table with one lighted candle representing the light of Scouting. In front of this candle, one each, red, white, and blue, unlighted. Behind the lighted candle is the Eagle light box, covered with a sheet. The master of ceremonies is at the front of the room, slightly to the side, behind a lectern. One Scout is standing by the table to light the candles with the light of Scouting.


MC: [As the Scout lights the red candle.] The red of my flag is the lifeblood of brave men ready to die or worthily live for this, our country.

[As the Scout lights the white candle.] The white of my flag is for purity, cleanliness of purpose, thought, word, and deed.

[As the Scout lights the blue candle.] The blue of my flag is for faith and loyalty, like the eternal blue of the star-filled heavens.

[As the Scout replaces the light of Scouting and removes the sheet covering the Eagle light box.] By authority vested in me as a representative of the ____________ Council and the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, I declare this court of honor to be duly convened.


MC: Tonight we have the honor and pleasure of recognizing [ Scout's name ] for the award of Eagle Scout.

The parents and Scout leaders of the Eagle candidate whom we honor tonight have labored long and faithfully to develop him toward alert and participating citizenship through the Boy Scout program. Their efforts culminate this evening in the presentation of the Eagle Award. The success of these efforts, however, will only be manifest in the way this Eagle Scout himself sets a social pattern for those whose lives he touches.

Honor guard, please escort before this court of honor, Eagle candidate [ Scout's name ], where he will be prepared to receive the highest rank conferred by the Boy Scouts of America, that of Eagle Scout.

[The honor guard, composed of Eagle Scouts will escort the Eagle candidate to the front of the room, near the American flag, and will leave him facing the audience.)


[This speaker needs to be of a very high caliber. There are many difficult words and phrasings. The part could even be broken into several parts. In any case, the person or persons doing this part should practice until it can be delivered effectively.]

I am the eagle. Since the beginning of time, man has used me and my brothers as a symbol of royalty, power, victory, authority, and valor. My strength and courage have inspired men through the ages.

Ancient man looked upon me as an inveterate enemy of serpents. They saw the battle between the sun and clouds as battles between an eagle and a serpent.

The ancient Assyrians associated me with Ashur, the great sun god. I was held in awe and worshipped for my majestic beauty. In the Assyrian myths, I was a symbol of storms and lightning and the god who carried souls to Hades.

In India and Babylon I was the symbol of fire, of wind and storms, and the bringer of immortality.

In the golden age of Greece, I was a symbol of victory and supreme spiritual energy. I was the sacred bird of Zeus, the ruler of all gods. The Greeks represented me with wings out-stretched holding a serpent in my claws. Thus, I represented the triumph of good over evil.

In Rome, I was the symbol of Jupiter, the supreme god. The Romans saw me as the symbol of victory. As the Roman legions conquered the world, they marched under the standard of the eagle, with outstretched wings. The silver eagle was the symbol of the republic and the Roman Empire used the golden eagle as its symbol. I became the personal emblem of the Caesars, representing supreme authority.

In the Middle Ages, I became the symbol of Germany. And, as falconry flourished as a sport in Europe, only kings were allowed to hunt with an eagle.

The rise of Christianity brought me still more honor. To the early Christians, the eagle was the symbol of ascension. This was due to the strong flight of the eagle with its gaze fixed on the sun. In early icons I was best known as the symbol of St. John the Evangelist.

The Aztec tribe of the Classical Era in what is now Mexico sighted me capturing a rattlesnake. The took this as a sign to settle at that place which ultimately became Mexico City. Today my image stands showing this event on the Great Seal of the modern nation of Mexico and on the nation's flag. In Mexico I did not just witness history in the making, but I helped to cause history.

In the nineteenth century, French troops under Napoleon conquered Europe under the symbol of the eagle. Many French soldiers gave their lives to protect the golden eagle which supported the French flag on the battleground.

On June 20, 1782, I became the symbol of a new country. Because of my courage and beauty, I was chosen to symbolize the new United States of America. The eagle became a prominent feature of the seal of state of the new republic.

From this early beginning, I have been used in many ways to symbolize the ideals of this country. Several states have the eagle on their state flags. You can find me on the coins of America from the beginning to present day.

I have a prominent place in America as in ancient Rome as a symbol of power and authority. The emblems of the President, vice-president, several members of the President's cabinet, and most branches of the armed forces center on the eagle.

From the god of the Assyrians to the symbol of the Caesars to the emblem of this country, it was thus fitting that the eagle should have a part in the most momentous achievement of man. The Apollo 11 crew chose Eagle as the name for the lunar module which was to make history. And with the words of Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong -- "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed" -- man was on the moon.

In 1911, following tradition as old as man himself, the Boy Scouts of America chose the eagle to symbolize the very highest in achievement. Through all of history, I have been the symbol of man's best; now the eagle is the symbol of Scouting's best.


MC: In a moment, ____________________, [name and title of guest speaker] will confer upon you the award of Eagle Scout. However, I am sure you will agree that some special persons should be accorded the privilege of standing with you and in some measure sharing these high honors.

Honor guard, please escort the parents of the Eagle candidate to his side.

[Parents take places on each side of the Eagle candidate.] [Invite the Scoutmaster to stand next to the parents.]

As the special guest of tonight's Court of Honor, Mr. ____________________ will present the Eagle Award.

[Introduce presenter.]

PRESENTER: [He has the option of speaking informally for a few minutes about the Eagle Award or the Eagle candidate. He speaks from a position near the candidate. He concludes his speech with the following sentence.]

[ Scout's name ], it is with distinct honor and pleasure that I present you with the Eagle Award.

[He then pins it on or passes badge to mother to pin on her son.]

MC: No one will ever know the unnumbered acts of self-sacrifice and helpfulness from the mother of this Eagle Scout which have led us to this night. As the symbol of what this mother has made possible, the court now asks [ Scout's name ] to present to his mother a miniature Eagle pin.

[The presenter gives it to the Eagle Scout who then pins it on his mother.]

PRESENTER: [ Scout's name ], it is customary that you also give your mother an Eagle kiss.

[The Eagle does so.]

MC: Your father has stood by you over the years and has offered his encouragement and assistance. As the symbol of what he has contributed to your attainment of this award, the court now asks you to present him a miniature Eagle Dad tie tack.

[The presenter gives it to the Eagle Scout who then pins it on his father's tie.]

MC: In recognition of fatherly advice and guidance along the trail to Eagle, I ask ____________________, father, now to present his son with the Eagle Scout certificate and personal letter from the Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America.

[The presenter gives them both to the Eagle's father, who then reads the letter aloud and presents them both to the Eagle.]

MC: The court thanks Mr. ____________________ for coming tonight and assisting in the presentation of the Eagle Award to [ Scout's name ].

NESA REPRESENTATIVE: [ Scout's name ], by virtue of your earning the Eagle Award, you are now eligible to become a member of the National Eagle Scout Association. Your troop has enrolled you as a 10-year member in the association and I have the honor of presenting your membership to you. Fail not your fellow Eagles, for your responsibilities are now greater than before. As you go forward in life, receiving other honors and awards, always remember this night when you became an Eagle Scout.

[He then gives him the NESA membership.]

MC: [ Scout's name ], you are now about to join the ranks of Eagle Scouts. Before doing so, however, we ask you to recommit yourself to Scouting's essential principles. ____________________ [name and title of person to deliver the charge] will assist by delivering the Eagle charge.

SPEAKER: Would all the Eagle Scouts in the audience please stand and form a line behind the new Eagle Scout.

[ Scout's name ], I have the honor to give you the Eagle charge on the occasion of your elevation to the highest rank in Scouting.

The Scouts of all nations constitute one of the most wholesome and significant movements in the world's history. You have been judged by the Boy Scouts of America of being worthy of the highest rank in this great movement. All who know you rejoice in your achievement.

Your position, as you know, is one of honor and responsibility. You are a marked man. As an Eagle Scout, you have assumed a solemn obligation to do your duty to God, to country, to your fellow Scouts, and to mankind in general. This is a great undertaking. As you live up to your obligations, you bring honor to yourself and to your brother Scouts.

America has many good things to give you and your children. But these good things depend for the most part on the quality of her citizens. Our country has had a great past and you can help make the future even greater.

I charge you, [ Scout's name ], to undertake your citizenship with a solemn dedication. Be a leader, but lead only toward the best. Lift up every task you do and every office you hold to the high level of service to God and to your fellowman. So live and serve, that those who know you will be inspired to finer living. We have too many who use their strength and their brains to exploit others and to gain selfish ends. I charge you, [ Scout's name ], to be among those who dedicate their skills and ability to the common good.

Build America on the solid foundation of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship, and reverence for God; and whatever others may do, you will leave behind a record of which every other Scout may be justly proud.

[ Scout's name ], you will now rededicate yourself by repeating the Scout Oath. Repeat it slowly, as you stand before the three lighted candles representing the three parts of the Scout Oath. Resolve to maintain the perseverance that has brought you this far.

EAGLE SCOUT: On my honor -- I will do my best -- to do my duty -- to God and my country -- and to obey the Scout Law -- to help other people at all times -- to keep myself physically strong -- mentally awake -- and morally straight.

SPEAKER: Your conduct along the trail has been excellent. You have rededicated yourself to the principles of Scouting, but one more thing is important: Your future.

As an Eagle Scout, you become a guide to other Scouts of lower rank. You become an example in your community. Remember that your actions are now a little more conspicuous and people will expect more of you. To falter in your responsibility would not only reflect upon you, but on your fellow Eagles and all Scouting. The torch you carry is not only yours, but is ours also.

[ Scout's name ], I challenge you to enter this Eagle brotherhood, holding ever before you, without reservation, the ideals of honor and service. By the repetition of the Eagle Scout Promise before your fellow members, you will become an Eagle Scout. Though the words you use are similar to those by which you joined Scouting, they will mean more now than they could have meant at any time in the past. When you pledge yourself on your sacred honor, you will be sealing your eternal loyalty to the code of the Eagle Scout, with the words which closed the Declaration of Independence. Scout, parents, and guests, please stand. [ Scout's name ], Scout sign. Repeat after me:

"I reaffirm my allegiance -- to the three promises of the Scout Oath -- I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself -- the obligations and responsibilities of the rank of Eagle Scout -- On my honor -- I will do my best -- to make my training an example -- my rank and my influence -- count strongly -- for better Scouting -- and for better citizenship -- in my troop -- and in my community -- and in my contacts with other people -- to this I pledge my sacred honor."

Scouts, parents, and guests may be seated. By the authority vested in me by the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America, it is my privilege and pleasure to pronounce you an Eagle Scout. May the oath you have taken remain graven on your heart forever.


MC: I now declare this Eagle Court of Honor closed. I ask the members of the court and all Eagle Scouts present to be the first to congratulate [ Scout's name ], Scouting's newest Eagle Scout. Following this, everyone will have the opportunity to do so.

[Announce reception to follow.]

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Last update: 4/20/2003, with contributions by C.W. Miller