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Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts


Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts Cover




LEGACY OF HONOR (Chapter One)The Second World War

The first significant generation of Eagle Scouts earned the rank in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These young men belonged to a Scouting program that had finally become nationally established, having grown considerably from the time of its founding in 1910. Three decades into the twentieth century, the Boy Scouts of America had nearly 1 million members, with troops registered in every state. The Eagles of this generation were shaped not only by Scouting, but by the heady success of the Roaring Twenties and the wrenching uncertainty of the Great Depression. As they emerged from the dark years of scarcity that marked the 1930s, they began to steel themselves for the greater challenge that lay ahead.

Bill Kemp, an Eagle Scout and a Scoutmaster for seventeen years, was among the generation of Eagles who came of age during the Second World War. He was also among the last Scouts to see Scoutings founder, Lord Baden-Powell, and hear his message of peace. In 1937, Bill traveled to the Fifth World Scout Jamboree in the Netherlands where “B-P,” as Baden-Powell was called, gave his farewell address to the boys he loved. The eighty-one-year-old “Chief Scout of the World” urged his audience to be brothers with Scouts of all faiths and backgrounds. He hoped they would keep their memories of the jamboree alive, saying “It will remind you of the many friends to whom you have held out the hand of friendship and so helped them through goodwill to bring about Gods reign of peace among men.” He hoped that somehow, the brotherhood of Scouting would avert the war he feared would come. Regrettably, it could not.

“Thats the most vivid memory of my life,” Bill recalled, himself eighty-one when we spoke. “He stood up at that bonfire with a Jacobs staff and he made a speech and said, ‘Youre my boys and before we meet again, well probably be at war. Its too bad the rest of the world cant get along like you can.”

The storm clouds outside the World Jamboree continued to gather, and the days ahead would indeed be as dark as Baden-Powell feared. Sadly, he would not live to see the conflicts resolution, having died in 1941. Many of the 29,000 Scouts present at the jamboree also perished before peace was restored in 1945. But Baden-Powells boys served well. A short decade after their mothers pinned the Eagle medal to their Scout uniform, Americas Eagle Scouts led soldiers onto battlefields around the globe.

The founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, with Scouts from around the globe


Steven Liscinsky of the Second Ranger Battalion traded his Scout pocket knife for an Army combat knife, which he jabbed into the rocky cliffs of Normandy as he scaled Pointe du Hoc before dawn on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On the Pacific outposts of Guadalcanal and Roi Namur, Mitchel Paige and Jimmie Dyess—one an enlisted sergeant, one a commissioned captain—earned Congressional Medals of Honor as they rallied their fellow U.S. Marines against enemy lines. Nearby on the beaches of Tarawa, Corpsman Ken Rook used the skills he learned in First Aid merit badge to help wounded soldiers until a Japanese bullet found his shoulder, making him one of the 3,300 casualties of the infamously vicious four-day battle. With thousands of deeds like these, this generation of Eagle Scouts began to create a true legacy as the collective virtues of their youth carried the nation through the Second World War.

LEGACY OF HONOR Copyright © 2007 by Alvin Townley.

Product Details

Townley, Alvin
Thomas Dunne Books
United states
United States - General
North American
Specific Groups - General
General Self-Help
Eagle Scouts - United States - History
Eagle Scouts -- United States.
North America
Boys / Men
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 8
Includes 35 black-and-white photographs
9.21 x 6.19 x 0.84 in
Age Level:
from 13 up to 18

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Children's » Sports and Outdoors » Scouting
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » US History » General

Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Thomas Dunne Books - English 9780312366537 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Over the past century, America's Eagle Scouts have earned a reputation for service, virtue, and leadership that is recognized throughout the world. But few people realize the full extent to which Eagle Scouts have made a mark on American history. They have served as astronauts, soldiers, politicians, and businessmen, but they have also been the fathers, brothers, Scoutmasters, coaches, and other role models who have played an integral part in American life.

Alvin Townley set out across the country to hear the stories of these Eagle Scouts. He spoke with individuals from every region, of every age and every background, some of whom have risen to fame as public figures while others have left a lasting impact outside of the spotlight.

The Eagle Scouts who share their experiences include Bill Gates, Sr., Bill Bradley, J. W. Marriott, Jr., Ross Perot, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Lugar, Michael Dukakis, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, coach Chan Gailey, and Capt. Jim Lovell of Apollo 13. The book also explores the virtues of a Tuskegee Airman, a Vietnam War POW, a September 11 NYPD hero, a crew of Hurricane Katrina relief workers, and a host of others from every walk of life.

During his journey, Alvin discovered stories of character, courage, and inspiration that belong not only to Eagle Scouts but to all Americans. These stories form the heart of Legacy of Honor and offer us a chance to appreciate the profound impact that Eagle Scouts have had on American history and the lasting role they will play in our country's future.

"Synopsis" by , "Legact of Honor" takes a revealing look at how Eagle Scouts--including Michael Bloomberg, Ross Perot, and Apollo 13's Jim Lovell--have shaped American history and culture.
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