Tag Archives: #citizenship

Remembering D-Day requires Action


Grave marker of unknown soldier, American Cemetery, Normandy, France

“Here rests in honored glory a Comrade In Arms known but to God”

June 6, 1944 is one of those days that should forever be ensconced in mankind’s collective history, similar to December 7, 1941, or more recently September 11, 2001. I have always felt it to be a day to spend in reverent memory of the sacrifices made by so many a lifetime ago.

But just about six weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a group of scouts to Normandy. We were able to walk along the beaches of Utah and Juno. We explored the craters and ruins of Point du Hoc. We walked the rows of thousands of white crosses at the American cemetery and paid our respects to the fallen. We ate dinner and participated in ceremonies of peace on the sands of “Bloody Omaha” with fellow scouts and scouters from the USA, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Germany (and I’m sure several others but those are the ones I noticed). The experience was life altering for those of us who made the trip.

Today, the first anniversary of D-Day since our visit, seems to me different now. Having been where they were. Having freely walked where they fought. Having been able to greet others with kind words and handclasps rather than bullets. Being able to leave, unlike so many that did not.

Books, classes, websites, movies…these can explain to us the timelines, the strategy, the methods, the results. But being there, standing on that ground, brings a new perspective that is hard to adequately explain. And that was 75 years after the fact. I can only imagine how poignant that place is for those who were there, those few who still remain.

There are so few left who witnessed the events of June 6, 1944 in person. At each five year interval, even fewer are able to attend ceremonies on the land they walked all those years ago. I’m sure that while that much of the topography is the same, it looks far different today than it did back then. Estimates say this may be the last major anniversary where vets will attend.  It falls upon us, then,  to continue to remember what happened on that day, and what it meant for us as a country, a people, a world.

To borrow the words of President Lincoln from his Gettysburg Address, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” 

While those words were spoken in the midst of our American Civil War more than 80 years before the events of June 6, 1944, they are uncannily, hauntingly applicable today, just as they were then, just as they were in 1944.  We must not just remember, but we must act.  To continually strive to ensure that those underlying causes of the conflict can never again be allowed to occur. To endeavor for understanding and friendship among all peoples, rather than distrust and conflict. To maintain constant vigilance to ensure that the evils and horrors of that conflict are not revisited upon any of us.  To speak up when evil is perpetrated on those around us, even if we are not affected.  To do our duty to God and our country, and to help other people at all times.  To be not just helpful, friendly, courteous, and kind to others, but also brave in standing up for the least among us.  To quote Mr. E. Urner Goodman, one of the founders of the Order of the Arrow, “He who Serves his fellows is, of all his fellows, greatest.”  Or maybe more succinctly, as our OA Obligation tells us, we all must “be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.”

We must.  If not us, then who?

Letter from Eisenhower to the members of the Allied Expeditionary Force - June 6, 1944

Eisenhower’s letter to the Allied Expeditionary Force

Here’s a link to the Google Photo Album from our trip.

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November Pack Meeting Recap


Pack 19 held their monthly Pack Meeting last night and even though it ran a little longer than expected, it went very well!

The core value of the month was citizenship, and we integrated this and Thanksgiving (which, as a national holiday fits right in there) to come up with our activities. We went with a station rotation idea where boys were split up into groups (each group included different ranks and siblings) and went from station to station where they did some sort of activity that was related to Citizenship.

Station #1 – Flags
At this station, we were outside the church at the flagpoles in the parking lot. Boys (and siblings) learned how to properly raise, lower and fold the US flag. The tie in to citizenship for this one is pretty easy to grasp; also it meets advancement requirements or electives at pretty much every rank level in Cub Scouts.

Station #2 – Cooking
In the church’s kitchen, the kids all made small apple turnovers using pre-made biscuit dough (Kroger brand) and a can of apple pie filling. While they were taking turns doing this their groups also learned the Johnny Appleseed grace and got filled in on the legend of Johnny Appleseed. This is the tie in with the theme, it’s American Folklore.

Station #3 – Cards
In one of the church’s side rooms, we had the boys do a leaf rubbing (and possibly identification, it was supposed to happen but I wasn’t in that room so I don’t know for sure). They turned their leaf rubbing into a Happy Thanksgiving card that the boys will give to a soldier or veteran they or their parents might know. The tie in here is for the boys to recognize the service of our veterans to our country.

Station #4 – Place mats
In another side room, the boys were given a place mat that had a blank map of the first 13 states (plus Ohio). They were supposed to color it in and label the states. Then on the other half of the page they were supposed to draw a famous American and tell what they did. Here’s a link to that coloring book page. The tie in here to citizenship was likewise pretty obvious.

Station #5 – Tic-Tac-Trivia
Back in the main room, we laid down big tic tac toe game squares on the floor with masking tape. We then had the groups answer trivia questions and if they got it right the square they were in was an O. If they got it wrong it was an X. All the questions were related to US History and the flag.

Leaders from each of our five dens ran one of the stations. I ran flags. After our pack meeting opening flag ceremony and a rundown of how things were going to work, the boys went to each station. They got about 10 minutes at each plus 2 minutes of travel, so it took roughly one hour for all the groups to get through all the stations. After the station rotations were done, we gathered back into the main room and did advancements using the ceremony suggested in the Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guide but slightly modified using BSA 2010 paper cups rather than hats. After that came announcements, then we circled up, sang Scout Vespers, did our blessing and went home. The boys grabbed their turnovers on the way out.

Overall I think it went very well, though it ran a little long. While I’m not entirely thrilled about that, my feeling is that if the boys were enjoying themselves that was the most important part.

Advancement – Besides the whole host of stuff that each family will have to go through their rank books to see what got completed, we also incorporated nearly all of the requirements of the US Heritage Silver Award. So I was pleased with how everything went.

Next month is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, so that should be an interesting pack meeting to plan. We’ll see how that goes.

YIS,

-Scott

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