Scouts and presidential inaugurations have a long, fascinating past

Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration used Scouts to provide first aid. Franklin D. Roosevelt requested Eagle Scouts for his personal honor guard.

Ronald Reagan’s team invited two Boy Scouts inside on the coldest Inauguration Day ever, and Bill Clinton’s team picked an Eagle Scout to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

For more than 100 years, Boy Scouts and Explorers have performed a patriotic duty at presidential inaugurations.

I scoured newspapers and the archives of Scouting magazine (which you can do as well, in our new app). What I found was that Scouts have served at every inauguration celebration since 1913 — the first swearing-in after the BSA was founded. This doesn’t include unusual inaugurations like those held immediately after a president’s death.

“Boy Scouts and the Army have been the only two uniformed honor guards at every inauguration since 1913,” says P-B, a Washington, D.C.-based Scout historian who goes by that two-letter name.

P-B tells me he has personally been at every inauguration since 1973, helping the Scout volunteers perform their patriotic service.

Here’s a look back at Scout involvement at inaugurations from 1913 to 2017.

March 4, 1913 (Woodrow Wilson): Scouts to the rescueMarch 4, 1913 (Woodrow Wilson): Scouts to the rescue

As de facto first responders at the 1913 inauguration, about 1,500 Boy Scouts provided medical aid while waiting for trained professionals to arrive.

A D.C. boy, Leroy Harris, took charge when “he found an exhausted mother with an ill baby on the afternoon of March 4.”

“The Scout took the baby and its mother into an office on the avenue and, after examining the baby, found it suffering with colic. He procured a box of mustard, and, mixing it with hot water on a handkerchief, made a mustard plaster, which he placed on the child’s stomach.”

1917-inauguration-scoutsMarch 5, 1917 (Woodrow Wilson): Wilson says thanks

In 1917, the BSA called on 5,000 Scouts — more than triple the number from four years earlier — to assist at Wilson’s second inauguration.

The Scouts were asked to “assist the police, render first aid, call ambulances and act as guides.”

And they did just that. Scouts helped in at least three cases: two of women fainting and another of a 7- or 8-year-old boy who “was taken ill” at the event.

warren-g-harding-and-scouts-1921March 4, 1921 (Warren G. Harding): Boys from all 48 states

For Warren G. Harding’s inauguration, Scouts traveled to our nation’s capital to assist the Washington Council. Scouts had to pay their own transportation costs, but once there they were “entertained in the homes of Scouts … not quartered in armories or barracks.”

President-elect Harding “expressed the hope that there will be boys present from every state in the union.”

The Boy Scout Band of Washington performed at the event, playing almost continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1923 - CoolidgeAug. 3, 1923 (Calvin Coolidge): Moving into White House

One day after the death of Harding, Coolidge took the presidential oath. There was, of course, no grandiose inauguration ceremony, but there was a Scouting connection.

Both of Coolidge’s sons were Scouts. In 1923, Coolidge wrote that “my observation of the benefits they have derived from their affiliation has strengthened my conviction of the organization’s usefulness.”

Even though John and Calvin Jr. were now “first boys of the land,” they were still “just reg’ler fellers,” Boys’ Life assured readers.

1925 - CoolidgeMarch 4, 1925 (Calvin Coolidge): Richmond Scouts march

Between 100 and 200 Scouts from Richmond, Va., were among the Scouts marching in what was a shorter, more subdued inaugural parade.

Twenty-four Boy Scouts and two leaders from Charleroi, Pa., watched the festivities from the crowd.

The Charleroi boys raised almost all the funds for the trip by putting put on a minstrel show.

1929 - HooverMarch 4, 1929 (Herbert Hoover): Flag-bearing Eagle Scouts do their part

Carrying the U.S. flag and the flag of the BSA National Council, 30 Eagle Scouts from Washington and nearby councils marched in the inauguration parade.

Other Scouts served as the honor guard and along the parade route.

This was the first inauguration recorded on newsreel with sound.

fdr-april-1933-scouting-magazineMarch 4, 1933 (Franklin D. Roosevelt): Personal aides to the president

More than 2,000 Scouts took part in the inauguration of Roosevelt.

FDR had been connected to Scouting for 12 years before taking office. He was one of the founders and the first president of the Boy Scout Foundation of Greater New York.

So it was no surprise that Roosevelt personally requested that Scouts be “given a definite part in the inaugural ceremonies.”

Four Eagle Scouts served as personal aides to the president. Another 235 Eagle Scouts, plus 16 Sea Scouts, stood nearby as he was sworn in.

“Scouters who were listening to the radio announcements no doubt heard frequent references to this splendid group,” according to Scouting magazine.

And then there was one boy who served at a post on the White House grounds, near the entrance to the kitchen. His job was to stay there until relieved.

After the ceremonies, a woman approached the Scout and invited him inside for some ice cream.

“Sorry, ma’am, I can’t leave my post,” he told her.

“You can’t?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well, then, I suppose you go on in and have some ice cream, and I’ll stand out here and watch your post for you.”

“Well,” the Scout said. “I — I guess that might be OK.”

And so the Scout went in for some ice cream, and Eleanor Roosevelt stood in his spot until he returned.

1937 - FDRJan. 20, 1937 (Franklin D. Roosevelt): The Guard of Honor returns

Once again, FDR asked for four Eagle Scouts to serve as his personal Guard of Honor.

Young men from Washington, Baltimore and Richmond served that role.

Other Eagle Scouts stood in front of the White House from 15th to 17th streets. Nine hundred more Scouts were ushers and handled crowd control along the parade route.

1941 - FDRJan. 20, 1941 (Franklin D. Roosevelt): Scouts treat frozen spectators

As 500,000 people gathered for FDR’s third inauguration, “the cold weather caused much suffering.

Red Cross booths treated many attendees for shock and exposure.

“Boy Scouts circulated through the crowds, spotting cases of distress for stretcher bearers,” Scouting magazine wrote.

1945 - FDRJan. 20, 1945 (Franklin D. Roosevelt): A nation at war

Because of the war, FDR’s fourth inauguration was much more subdued.

Though 7,000 guests attended the ceremony on the White House lawn, the parade and many of the inauguration festivities were canceled.

Scouts did serve at that event, albeit in a smaller capacity.

1945 - TrumanApril 12, 1945 (Harry S. Truman): Truman assumes presidency

On the day of FDR’s death — April 12, 1945 — Harry S. Truman’s first inauguration was held inside the White House.

Truman had just adjourned a U.S. Senate session when he learned the news of Roosevelt’s death earlier in the day.

1949 - TrumanJan. 20, 1949 (Harry S. Truman): Scouts salute president

At Truman’s second inauguration, Scouts were present along the parade route and as members of the honor guard.

One of the volunteers was Jim Upp, then a 16-year-old Eagle Scout.

This was still before the days of tight security, so Upp and his fellow Scouts — not armed policemen — lined the parade route to keep the masses at bay.

Scouts were asked to remove their coats when the motorcade approached so the dignitaries could see their Scout uniforms.

“We saluted as the president’s vehicle passed by,” Upp said. “I also remember it was very cold.”

1953-eisenhower-inaugurationJan. 20, 1953 (Dwight D. Eisenhower): Ike gets ‘started off right’

The 1953 inauguration offers one of the most sweeping examples of Scout service.

A thousand Scouts and a thousand Explorers from the National Capital Area Council served at the festivities for Eisenhower, who had been a member of the BSA’s Executive Board since the war. Scout Historian P-B guesses the real number was twice that.

A dozen Explorers and three Scouts were aides to the president on the reviewing stand. Some 600 Scouts and Explorers, each carrying an American flag, marched in the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Others served as crowd control, ushers, ticket takers, stretcher-bearers, messengers, lost and found center volunteers, and food servers.

That night, Explorers served as doormen and ushers at the inaugural concert, festival and balls.

One tired Explorer said, “Well, I guess we got President Ike started off right.”

Scouts march at the 1957 inauguration.Jan. 20, 1957 (Dwight D. Eisenhower): Scouts form drum and bugle corps

An Eagle Scout from the National Capital Area Council stood with Eisenhower throughout the inauguration ceremony.

A Scout drum and bugle corps, pictured here, marched in the inaugural parade, as did a massive contingent of Scouts carrying American flags.

Once again, Scouts and Explorers lined the parade route and stood nearby as members of an honor guard.

1961 inaugurationJan. 20, 1961 (John F. Kennedy): A future director’s first big break

Among the Boy Scouts who helped seat dignitaries at Kennedy’s inauguration was David Lynch. Lynch, who was celebrating his 14th birthday that day, became an Eagle Scout less than two years later (Nov. 13, 1962) in Alexandria, Va.

Movie buffs know Lynch as the surrealist director behind films like The Elephant Man and the TV show Twin Peaks.

Other Scouts served in the honor guard, marched in the parade and directed guests to their seats.

1963 - LBJNov. 22, 1963 (Lyndon B. Johnson): Johnson takes oath on Air Force One

Johnson assumed the presidency on the day of Kennedy’s assassination.

It was the only time the presidential oath was administered on an airplane, with Johnson being sworn in on Air Force One at Dallas Love Field.

Jan. 20, 1965 (Lyndon B. Johnson): BSA’s (and IBM’s) president takes his seat

In addition to the 2,000 Boy Scouts and Explorers serving as ushers, ticket takers, messengers, aides and honor guards, a top BSA volunteer sat in the presidential box for the inaugural parade.

Thomas J. Watson Jr., who was halfway into his two-year term as BSA national president, was one of Johnson’s personal guests.

Watson was the president of IBM at the time. In 1964, Watson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Johnson, whom the president called “the greatest capitalist in history.”

1969 - NixonJan. 20, 1969 (Richard Nixon): A climate of conflict

It was a different atmosphere at the 1969 inauguration, where some parade-goers were upset about U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Patriotic Boy Scouts distributed small American flags to everyone along the parade route. A few dozen demonstrators burned those flags.

Several Eagle Scouts from the D.C. area served as ushers. Among them was the son of El Paso, Texas, Congressman Richard White.

Rod White, 17, was stationed near the inaugural platform — another of the “many fine opportunities” afforded to him because of Scouting, his mother said.

1973 - NixonJan. 20, 1973 (Richard Nixon): N.Y. Eagle Scouts get prime post

Five Eagle Scouts from the Tioughnioga Council (now the Baden-Powell Council) of Cortland County, N.Y., were among the Scouts serving as ushers in 1973. Their post was in the VIP reviewing stand, located across from the president’s reviewing stand.

That meant the Scouts likely were seen on national TV throughout the day.

Each Eagle Scout paid his own way to D.C. and stayed in the home of a fellow member of the National Eagle Scout Association.

1974 - FordAug. 9, 1974 (Gerald Ford): Eagle Scout becomes president

Ford’s inauguration was held inside the White House, an understandably quiet affair in the wake of Nixon’s resignation.

But an Eagle Scout was most definitely present at the swearing-in ceremony. Gerald Ford is, to date, our only Eagle Scout president.

In December 1974, while president of the U.S., Ford spoke at the Boy Scouts’ Annual Awards Dinner. He told the crowd that “our goal ought to be, or should be, more Boy Scouts in government, not less.”

1977 - CarterJan. 20, 1977 (Jimmy Carter)

P-B was there in 1977 when Scouts served at the Carter inauguration.

It was a more subdued event, he says, especially compared to earlier (and later) inaugurations.

“There wasn’t a lot of fanfare, and that was kind of disappointing,” he says.

This inauguration saw many more Girl Scouts join the celebration with Boy Scouts, a tradition that started four years earlier and continues today.

1981 - ReaganJan. 20, 1981 (Ronald Reagan): In front of White House

Among the thousands of Scout volunteers were 100 Eagle Scouts from Maryland — all wearing their full uniforms — who were selected to open car doors, serve as ushers and collect tickets at inauguration festivities.

The Scouts were positioned right in front of the White House — “the best place to see the parade,” 16-year-old Craig Rudy said.

At a special concert at the Lincoln Memorial, Boy Scouts were asked to help seat the guests. The Scouts also distributed 10,000 Maglites featuring the president’s name, P-B says.

1985 - ReaganJan. 21, 1985 (Ronald Reagan): In from the cold

The coldest Inauguration Day on record, with daytime temps around 7 degrees, forced planners to move everything inside and cancel the parade. Reagan took the oath inside the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

The weather threatened to end the streak of BSA participation at inaugurations, but Reagan’s team stepped in.

Officials brought two Boy Scouts into the Rotunda to witness the ceremony. One of them was Andy Hall, P-B’s senior patrol leader and an Eagle Scout from Troop 666 of Washington, D.C.

“They wanted to continue the tradition of having Scouts serve at every inauguration,” P-B says.

1989 - BushJan. 20, 1989 (George H.W. Bush): Crowd control

Among the inauguration roles for Boy Scouts in 1989: helping control the crowds at an inaugural ball.

The main ballroom of the Washington Hilton was so crowded with Ohioans that police had to be summoned to assist the Boy Scouts working the doors.

After Bush left the party, the crowd thinned considerably.

1993 - ClintonJan. 20, 1993 (Bill Clinton): Checking tickets

The Scout volunteers in 1993 included Dominick Cerminaro from Troop 278 of Braddock Heights, Md., who had a spot along Pennsylvania Avenue for the inaugural parade.

Dominick and fellow Scouts checked tickets and ushered people into the grandstands to watch the proceedings.

1997 inauguration ScoutsJan. 20, 1997 (Bill Clinton): Eagle Scout leads the Pledge

Before Clinton’s second inauguration, Eagle Scout David Morales of Boy Scout Troop 152 of Vienna, Va., led the Pledge of Allegiance.

This marked the first time the Pledge had been part of an inauguration.

In addition to Morales’ prominent role, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts greeted guests and distributed ceremony programs as attendees arrived on the Capitol grounds.

2001 - BushJan. 20, 2001 (George W. Bush): ‘Run of the place’

About 2,000 Boy and Girl Scouts from the D.C. area took tickets and guided people to their seats along the parade route.

Additionally, Troop 371 of Frederick, Md., served as assistants to Bush’s parade platform committee. The Scouts carried boxes of papers to the Capitol, distributed 10,000 parade guides to the media and completed other errands as needed.

“We pretty much had the run of the place,” Scoutmaster Jim Eaton said.

2005 - BushJan. 20, 2005 (George W. Bush): Showing the way

At the second inauguration for George W. Bush, Scouts again helped direct parade-goers and invited guests. Some served as honor guards and marched in the parade.

That summer, Bush attended the national Scout jamboree.

As the sun set, the president delivered these remarks.

2009 - ObamaJan. 20, 2009 (Barack Obama): Philadelphia troop picked to march

Boy Scout Troop 358 from Germantown, Pa., was selected from more than 1,400 troops that applied to ride on a float in the inaugural parade.

Additional Scouts volunteered along the parade route and at other inauguration events.

Troop 358 2013 inaugurationJan. 21, 2013 (Barack Obama): Philly troop makes return visit

Once again, Troop 358 (pictured here) was asked to march in the parade as Obama was sworn in for a second time.

While Troop 358 marched, 750 Scouts from across the country kept order along the parade route.

Others served as ushers or merely watched the proceedings.

2017 inaugurationJan. 20, 2017 (Donald J. Trump): D.C. area Scouts carry flags

The National Capital Area Council, based in D.C., plans to send 76 Eagle Scouts to the parade as part of the honor corps.

Fifty-six youth will carry 56 flags: the flags of the 50 U.S. states, D.C., and the five U.S. territories. Two Scouts will carry a banner identifying the group.

In addition to being Eagle Scouts, most of the participants are members of the Amangamek-Wipit Lodge of the Order of the Arrow.

2017 inauguration National Capital Area Council patch

Sources

  • Scouting magazine: Aug. 15, 1913; March 15, 1917; Dec. 23, 1920; April 1933; April 1953; December 1955; March 1957
  • Boys’ Life magazine: May 1921, October 1923, May 1929, July 1997
  • Danville (Va.) Bee: March 3, 1925
  • Charleroi (Pa.) Mail: Feb. 28, 1925
  • The New York Times: Jan. 21, 1941; Jan. 21, 1969
  • Connection Newspapers
  • El Paso Herald Post: Jan. 3, 1969
  • Syracuse Post Standard: Jan. 17, 1973
  • Frederick (Md.) News Post: Jan. 19, 1981; Jan. 21, 1993; Jan. 23, 2001
  • Chicago Tribune: Jan. 22, 1985
  • Associated Press: Jan. 16, 1985;  Jan. 21, 1989; Jan. 21, 2001
  • Washington Post: Jan. 20, 2005
  • WNEP-TV: Jan. 21, 2013
  • P-B, Scout Historian

27 Comments

    • Please withdraw from the inaugural parade. Yes, tradition is a powerful and beautiful thing. But there are some values we teach girls that transcend even that. It is decency, honesty and genuine patriotism. Donald Trump is a pathological liar, and will soon go down in scandal for having been compromised by the Russians. This man can only serve as the perfect role model for our girls if we prefer that they grow up to be harassed, human trafficked’ lingerie models and wives of wealthy but thrice-married adulterers. Please don’t pretend that you have agreed to misuse young Girl Scouts in this way for patriotic reasons of tradition. Slavery was also a tradition once.

  1. Our participation was certainly different pre-9/11. Scouts had traditionally helped as ushers along the Standing Room Only parade route. Once the president went by, leading the parade, many parade watchers would depart for the inaugural balls. Then the scouts would fill in the high-priced reserved bleacher seats so it wouldn’t appear that the stands were empty on television. Inaugural parade support was always a joint Girl Scout-Boy Scout operation. We made sure that all the assignments were split down the middle. (Sometimes the GS were assigned one side of a block along Penn. Ave and the Boy Scouts had the other side). Another aspect of Presidential Inaugural support is that the Presidential Inaugural Committee is in charge. The Scouts always volunteer their services but the PIC leadership (who have never done this before) don’t realize the magnitude of the effort and don’t think they need those volunteers (many who have supported numerous previous Inaugurals). What ends up happening is the Scouts get called in at the last minute to help out. (Like the time we were called in the night before to sweep snow off the bleachers). Second term inaugurals went better because the PIC remembered how valuable Scout support was.

  2. Actual historians are not identified by pseudonyms and do not conceal their identities. Professionals of all types honestly claim their words and actions. Who is “P-B” and why should I trust his/her commentary? Why do you need to hide this person’s identity?

    • Are we not allowed to refer to our founder as B-P, or must we always refer to him as Lord Robert Stevenson Smyth Baden-Powell of Gillwell? Many people use nicknames and “pen names”. I agree with Peter that it is kind of neat that his initials are the reverse of B-P’s. If you want more information about him, look him up in the congressional record.

    • I’ve seen him and his collection of Scout memorabilia in person. I chose to respect the man’s wishes to go by the nickname used by those who know him.

    • I could not agree with you more!!! I understand the peaceful transition of power, etc., etc. but the country has elected a man that does not follow 1 point of the Scout Law. I have had the hardest time explaining this to my Scouts. But, I keep telling them to keep doing the right thing, and follow the Scout Law in their daily life. Good always overcomes evil.

      • Participation in the inauguration has nothing to do with the actual man or woman assuming the office. It is not just about respecting the tradition of peaceful transition of power – it is also respecting the office. I thought President Obama was a horrible choice for President both terms and I personally do not agree with his politics one bit. But when my son’s high school band was selected/invited to perform in Mr. Obama’s second inaugural parade I immediately made plans to accompany the band as chaperone and support the effort to be in the parade.

        Just like it is in the military – You salute the rank, not the man/woman.

    • The inability of the Trump Transition team to realize the importance of the BSA was sad. The invite to the Eagle Scouts of the area was late, and , I think, a last minute thing. . As to Mr. Trump’s ability to demonstrate the Scout values of the Promise and Law, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”

  3. My recent letter to the National Executive Board, President of BSA and Chief Scout Executive:

    Dear Members of the National Executive Board:

    I am an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow, and was a District Scout Executive very early in my career. I have a deep love for the Scouting program and was blessed with outstanding leaders through my Scouting career that gave me a firm foundation of values and shaped my character early in my life. I just completed a 42-year career as a Captain for United Airlines and am now comfortably retired. I attribute any success I have had in my career to my early training as a Boy Scout and the values I was taught by some of the finest men and women I have ever known. My Scoutmasters and adult leaders are and will always be my personal heroes!

    The values, mission, and vision of the Boy Scouts of America are well established and articulated in the Annual Reports of the organization:

    “The Scout Oath
    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.

    The Scout Law
    A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

    The Mission
    The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

    The Vision
    The Boy Scouts of America will prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

    In addition, the Charter and By-Laws of the organization establish how “Honorary Officers” are elected:

    “HONORARY OFFICERS Honorary President and Vice Presidents
    Clause 1. The President of the United States may, during term of office, be elected to be the Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, living former Presidents of the United States and other citizens who have rendered distinguished service to our country through work for young people may be elected to be hon- orary vice presidents. Such election shall be by the Executive Board upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee for such terms as the Executive Board shall specify.”

    The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States presents a difficult conundrum for this organization and those of us who grew up living with the values we learned from being Boy Scouts.

    I was distressed to learn that the Boy Scouts of America will be participating in the inauguration of this individual. While I understand that the office of President of the United States demand a certain level of respect, this particular individual, who possesses NONE of the values of our organization, is not deserving of this recognition or respect.

    Mr. Trump became president by lying, demeaning women, denigrating racial and ethnic minorities, excusing violence against opponents, and attempting to undermine the freedom and independence of the press. And since being elected he’s held rallies and issued “tweets” in which he’s continued to tell lies, retaliate against critics, call opponents “enemies,”and dismiss conflicts of financial interest. In my view, attending Trump’s inauguration gives tacit support and approval to an individual who possesses NONE of the values or character traits we attempt to instill in the young men and young women who are members of our organization.

    I would respectfully implore you to take two actions. First, remove the organization’s involvement in the inauguration activities and second, DO NOT elect this individual as “Honorary President” as is “customary” but certainly not required by the Constitution and By Laws. The language gives YOU the option to bestow this title and I would strongly urge you to decline to do so in this case.

    Ask yourself, would you want YOUR sons or daughters to adopt the values and character of this particular individual and do his values and character reflect those of this organization?

    Most Sincerely and your Brother in Scouting,

    Capt. Steven C. Derebey (ret.)
    Eagle Scout

    • Captain: Oh, please, get over yourself! Participation in the inaugural ceremonies and/or respecting the Office of the Presidency has NOTHING to do with whether or not you support the politics – or even personally like – the person elected.

  4. Notice that the scouts participation was toned down by Obama. I guess the scouts were too patriotic for his ceremony. Also remember that he blew off coming to Jambo in 2010 after the BSA even had a special
    Day and patch made for his visit. He went on tv’s The View instead. Although Eagle Scout Bob Gates came and gave a good speech. Now we’re getting 4 Eagle Scout cabinet nominees so things look up.

  5. Bryan, thank you for this well timed article. I had the honor of participating in the last 4 inaugurations, each time in very different roles.

    2001 saw the largest participation of these 4. Since the election was decided so late, there was not as much time for other volunteers to come out, so there was a greater need for the Scouts, from the last minute request for help at the Opening Ceremony, we served as ushers and handed out flashlights (a continuation of Pres. Bush’s father’s 1000 Points of Light theme), even wading out into the crowd at the Reflecting Pool to get them to those in the General Admission section; to serving food and warm drinks to members of the various bands and marching units before the start of the parade.

    2005 had my son and OA Chapter were in the area near Union Station directing folks on how to get where they wanted to go while I was reassigned to be a gate captain working with Boy and Girl Scout ushers on the Parade Route.

    2009 was an exciting time, so there were many volunteers wanting to help, that the Scouts were not needed as much. So, the Scouts were asked to arrive before the break of dawn and wade into the mass of people on The National Mall and hand out the America Flags you saw people waving during the Ceremony. What I remember the most about that day, was that even though the numbers of people were greater, everybody there was in a good mood.

    2013 I was back on the Parade Route with the OA supporting the gates and stands around the While House. As was mentioned, this being a 2nd Inauguration, there was more need for the Scouts as the Volunteers were not as plentiful, and the connections of the planners to the local community stronger. Other Scouts were in traditional roles as ushers and information teams around the city.

    To the person who complained the PB was only referred to by his initials, that is the only name most of us know him as. This is no different than referring to C. S. Lewis instead of spelling out his full name. That is just how PB likes it.

    For 2017, I am disappointed that the participation of the Scouts is much lighter than in my past experience. I gladly volunteered to join fellow Scouts and OA Brothers, should the call have come, not because of who our next President will be (I only voted for 1 of the Presidents inaugurated at the events where I volunteered), but because I see it as a service to my country, and its citizens who are attending.

    I look forward to 2021 with the hope that Scouts will again be called upon to be of service to our nation as participating citizens.

  6. It’s a shame that people like Capt. Steven C. Derebey didn’t learn a thing in Scouting about civics and doesn’t even understand scoutings role in politics. Thanks for this fantastic read, I’m sure the real scouts who read it will enjoy it.

  7. Please do not march in this year’s Inauguration. My boy scout knows to treat others with respect, no matter where there are from or what religion they believe in, with decency and respect. Trump does not represent Scout values.

  8. The same people that want the BSA to boycott the inauguration are probably the same ones that are supporting the 49 (at the last count) of elected Democratic leaders that are boycotting it also. All this shows is that they are part of the problem NOT the solution. The way you reach across the aisle is to show up when you don’t want to be there. It’s not by refusing to shake hands (Elizabeth Warren) or boycotting. Obama refused to work with anyone from the Republicans so he circumvented the Constitution by using the Executive Branch to make laws.

    As long as the people that want to boycott Trump would with a straight face say they would have done the same for Obama’s 2nd inauguration or Hilary (who broke so many laws they cannot be counted) if she would have won, then they might have a argument that they are standing on their principles. I doubt if many of them could so all they are doing is contributing to the problem again.

    Part of Scouting is being the better person and that starts by reaching out to others . . . even if they disagree with your views.

  9. I saw the inaugural parade and was bitterly shocked at how much of a joke we made out of ourselves!
    Let’s get realistic folks, where were the “50 state flags”! I only saw 10 flags so that means in theory, 40 states left the Union!
    I am furious and embarrased at this pitiful public national failure! No excuses! A mega Council like “Capitol Area” hurting OUR reputation like this! At a minimum, 13 flags should have been there, but only 10 ?!
    Also if I had been out there helping with this (and I speak with practical knowledge in this area), here is a proper presentation.
    Include Cub Scouts helping to carry the banner – everyone loves our little men in blue.
    Have your 50 flags with Scouts wearing matching pants so the colors appear uniform (unless national supply can’t get dye lots right).
    Next have coed contingents of lines of Venturers and Sea Scouts! We just blew free national advertising of two coed older Scout programs that are UNKNOWN! Wow! The membership increase from national exposure and the announcers saying, “yes girls can be in Boy Scouts in Venturing and Sea Scouting”!
    Finally a band or drum and bugle corp!!! I have personally overseen the organization of that through youth who wanted to earn their “musician” patch. I had a District/Chapter Scout band and am working on another!
    So, the BSA gets an “F” in presentation on a national scale!
    Countless Scouts, Venturers and Sea Scouts lose out on the new “Honor Guard” patch and we look like fools!
    From this fiasco, the Scout Executive of that Council should be fired from Irving. He did not “protect the brand”!
    I do not look forward to my next unit meeting and getting an earful from the youth, because I will most definitely get it!
    No excuses, we embarrassed ourselves and made our organization look weak and pitiful at a time when our numbers are dropping like flies and then we blow MILLIONS of dollars in free advertising!

    • PJ Keeler IV: A contingent of scouts marched in each of the five divisions of parade participants, carrying all 50 state/commonwealth flags plus the 6 US territories. The flags were divided up by the order they entered into statehood. The parade announcers made that very clear during the broadcast of the parade.

  10. My father was born and raised in Washington. His father was never a Boy Scout, since he turned 18 in 1910 (but he marched in Wilson’s parades with other groups); but Dad was a Boy Scout, and marched in the 1933 and 1937 inaugural parades. Dad also blew the bugle during the 1937 Jamboree.

    Dad and Granddad could never vote for President until 1940, after they moved to Massachustts with Grandma and Uncle Dick, and they were Republicans to the core for the rest of their lives; but Dad was very proud to march in FDR’s first two inaugural parades, because he was honoring the office and country, not the man weho was President.

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