One of the most memorable and inspirational things a troop can do for its new Eagle scouts is solicit letters of recognition and congratulations from dignitaries and world leaders. Virtually every public figure, from town mayors to national and international leaders, is delighted to draft and send such a letter. Many small town mayors will actually issue a proclamation making the day of your Eagle Court, for example, Eagle Scout Day and give your son a copy of the official document. And U.S. Senators will not only send a letter, they'll also present a flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol in your son's honor, for a small fee for the flag. (I suspect some poor Capitol intern's sole job is standing out by the flapole hoisting Old Glories up and down.) It's a lovely commemoration and one your boy will be reminded of every Fourth of July and Flag Day for years to come. So, here's how to make it happen:
First, compile a list of possible dignitaries, adding people who may have special significance to your troop, someone from your town who became an astronaut, for example, or an Olympic athlete. Thing big. Think awe-inspiring. Here are some possibilities who have written Eagle letters in the past:
- The President of the United States
- Former presidents
- The current and former vice presidents
- Your U.S. senator and U.S. congressman
- Members of the federal cabinet, such as the Secretary of Education or Defense
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military leaders
- Senate Majority and Minority Leaders
- Your state's governor
- Your state senator and assemblyman
- Your town's mayor
- Your county supervisor
- Astronauts, members of the Navy Blue Angels, etc.
- Olympic athletes, particularly those who are Eagles
- Spiritual leaders, including the Pope
Once upon a time, finding appropriate contact information might have been difficult. Now, Google makes it easy. The links above will take out to many of the correct sites, and the US Scouts web site also has compiled many helpful addresses.
Send a request with all the pertinent information - the full first and last names of the boys, the troop, the date of the Eagle Court and/or the date the boys made Eagle (which is the date of their council board of review) and the address to which you need everything sent.
Gather all the letters and proclamations. Make a list of the senders for your Scoutmaster to announce during the ceremony, and find an inspirational excerpt he can read. Ready the letters and proclamations for presentation, by inserting them into each boy's binder, for example, and tying them with red and blue ribbon. Bring them to the ceremony.