USSSP: A Scout's Duty to God and Country





Have you ever wondered what happened to those men who signed the Declaration  of Independence?


Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.


What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means,  well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.


They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred  honor.


Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.


Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his  family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.


Vandals or soldiers or both, looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Rutledge, and Middleton.


At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire, which was done. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.


Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. 


John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home after the war to find his wife dead, his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. 


Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.


Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. There were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: "For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."


They gave us an independent America.  Can we keep it?




I am not a Very Important Man, as importance is commonly rated, I do not have great wealth, control a big business, or occupy a position of great honor or authority.


Yet I may someday mold destiny.  For it is within my power to become the most important man in the world in the life of a boy.  And every boy is a potential atom bomb in human history.


A humble citizen like myself might have been the Scoutmaster of a Troop in which an undersized unhappy Austrian lad by the name of Adolph might have found a joyous boyhood, full of the ideals of brotherhood, goodwill, and kindness.  And the world would have been different.


A humble citizen like myself might have been the organizer of a Scout Troop in which a Russian boy called Joe might have learned the lessons of democratic cooperation.


These men would never have known that they had averted world tragedy, yet actually they would have been among the most important men who ever lived.


All about me are boys.  They are the makers of history, the builders of tomorrow.  If I can have some part in guiding them up the trails of Scouting, on to the high road of noble character

and constructive citizenship, I may prove to be the most important man in their lives, the most important man in my community.


A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.  But the world may be different, because I was important in the

life of a boy.


                                                                                                                Forest Witcraft




The Pledge of Allegiance


I remember this one teacher.  To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time.  He had such wisdom.  We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he walked over.  Mr. Lasswell was his name.  He said: "I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you.  If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word.


I                                   me, an individual, a committee of one.


Pledge                         dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.


Allegiance                   my love and my devotion.


To the Flag                  our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.


United                          that means that we have all come together.


States                           individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.


And to the Republic     Republic, a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern.  And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.


For Which It Stands


One Nation                  One nation, meaning, so blessed by God.


Indivisible                    incapable of being divided.


With Liberty                 which is freedom, the right of power to live one's own life without threats or fear or some sort of retaliation. 


And Justice                  the principle or qualities of dealing fairly with others.


For All                         For all... which means boys and girls, it's as much your country, as it is mine."


And now boys and girls let me hear you recite, the Pledge of Allegiance.


I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the

republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance - "under God".


Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer" and that would be eliminated from schools, too?



                                                                                                                Taken from Red Skelton

                                                                                                                "The Pledge of Allegiance"

                                                                                                                The Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969.




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