- honor the invaluable contributions that veterans from all branches of service have made in protecting us and preserving our way of life, and
- celebrate the renovation of the AMVETS carillon memorial as completed by a team of volunteers lead by Life Scout David T. in partial fulfillment of requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout.
Background on David’s project:
David has long had a strong admiration for veterans — those who served at home in peacetime, and those called to operations overseas, too. Working with a contact at AMVETS in his home church, David discovered the need to renovate the carillon (bell tower) memorial located in the meadowlands. Initially dedicated in 2007, the carillon was in great condition, but the surrounding flags (one for each branch of armed services, an American Flag, POW-MIA and AMVETS organizational flag) had been flying continuously and were becoming threadbare from exposure to the elements. Additionally, a little bit of TLC renovation to the back wall, benches and walkways would help refresh the site which is used for special services throughout the year.
First, David arranged and led several fundraisers (using scouts from our troop and volunteers from his church) in order to secure funding to cover paint and new flags for the memorial. Next, he organized work crews and directed their activity to renovate the site. He worked with our BSA Senior District Executive (a professional scouter and veteran) and the local AMVETS President to develop a re-dedication ceremony that would incorporate speeches by local dignitaries, veterans and scouters. All of this work culminated in a wonderful ceremony yesterday where scouts and veterans, working as paired teams hoisted new flags at the site.
In speaking with our Senior District Executive, he mentioned how much he admired this project since it served to both honor veterans, and to bring communities together. We had multiple scout units represented at the ceremony and we spent a good deal of time getting to know each other — scouts meeting veterans to develop a greater understanding of what they have done to secure our freedoms. It is important to remember the past and honor those who’ve served in our place — a theme covered before at this blog site.
David has served our troop as Troop Guide, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and he also serves Crew 11 as its President. A driven, focused and caring individual, I foresee his quick promotion to Eagle Scout rank.
Background on the AMVETS Carillon Memorial Program (from the AMVETS web site):
After studying the tributes presented by other organizations and groups memorializing the dead of other wars, AMVETS decided that a “living” memorial, a carillon, whose bells, symbolic of Thomas Jefferson’s historic words, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”, tolling as a constant reminder would be the most appropriate. A carillon would not only affirm that the sacrifices made by those who died , were not in vain but would also serve to remind us of our legacy and our debt to those who fought to preserve our freedom throughout the world. The first carillon was installed at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Accepted by an Act of Congress in October 1949, this carillon was dedicated by President Harry S. Truman on December 21, 1949 with his now immortal words, “…As these bells ring …honored dead rest … freedom lives…”. AMVETS’ carillons are located at 92 locations and still increasing.
Background on Eagle Scout Service Projects:
In addition to providing service and fulfilling the part of the Scout Oath, “to help other people at all times,” one of the primary purposes of the Eagle Scout service project is to demonstrate or hone, or to learn and develop, leadership skills. Related to this are important lessons in project management and taking responsibility for a significant accomplishment.
The specific requirement states; “While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.)” In practical terms, the scout must prepare and present an initial proposal (which is often modified repeatedly until it is approved), a budget, a safety program to address potential issues, and obtain the approvals of the beneficiary (that they will support the project). Often, the implementation of the project includes unexpected twists and turns which must be documented as the project progresses. All of this work is planned, led and reviewed by the scout himself in order to practice taking responsibility for his project.