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Origin of the Eagle Pledge and Eagle Charges

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I'm spinning this off the other thread about sharing costs of ECoHs. Most of us agree that ceremonies can be bogged down when folks (usually excited parents) try to pack in too many elements. That lead to some interesting questions about the seemingly wordy Eagle Pledge and Eagle Charge which, on paper don't seem like much, but can be the last straw when preceded by guest speakers, special recognitions, etc ... .

 

So when did did the pledge and charge become part of the ceremony? Some of us youngns remember it back in the 70s. Anybody got a memory or publication with things of the sort from an earlier court of honor?

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My question ... where is the Eagle charge and Eagle pledge documented ?   I can't find official references beyond differing wording and different usages.  Sometimes the charge is spoken by a "charger".  Other times, it's a similar but different oath. 

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My impression was there were some local variants of an Eagle pledge, promise, oath, charge,....and maybe NESA  as it formed in the 70's felt the need to meddle and offer their version or two. I could be wrong.

 

When I first encountered this, I thought as an Eagle that it was over the top and insulting. Don't dangle his Eagle at him and his parents by first requiring him to recite a different pledge, promise,..He has earned his Eagle, award it to him!  He can stand tall wearing his Eagle and recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law with his troop.

 

When Eagles in the audience are asked to stand and recite these new, random Eagle promises/oaths/pledges/warranties/user-agreements, I remain seated. I will stand and recite just the Scout Oath and Law as I did at my ECOH.

 

Another $0.02,

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There is no single form (e.g., http://usscouts.org/eagle/eaglecharge.aspsays Please note that many forms/variations of this are used. No single charge is considered to be the "right" one.)

 

NESA promotes its version of the Eagle Promise (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/542-404.pdf) with no reference to its origin. Several other versions are here (http://www.macscouter.com/Eagle/EagleBook_Pledges.asp).

 

So far I haven't found anything with a date. At least @@TAHAWK's online source has some names.

 

So @@RememberSchiff, I think your impression is fairly accurate. (Although, I've never met a scouter, until you, who was bothered by it. So either folks around me weren't bothered at the time. Or, the dust had settled by then.) When did you get your Eagle?

Maybe if a few other Eagles from the same decade recall being saddled with only the scout oath and law, we can put a rough date on the innovations.

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1971.

 

There is something to be said for tradition here. I have seen fellow dads and grandads (old Eagles) scratch their heads and wonder why? Maybe we are few and in time we'll be gone, so what. But we gray-beards can ask, why we had a higher percentage of Eagles attending their ECOH than do now and what is amiss.  :unsure: 

Edited by RememberSchiff
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When I first encountered this, I thought as an Eagle that it was over the top and insulting. Don't dangle his Eagle at him and his parents by first requiring him to recite a different pledge, promise,..He has earned his Eagle, award it to him!  He can stand tall wearing his Eagle and recite the Scout Oath and the Scout Law with his troop.

 

When Eagles in the audience are asked to stand and recite these new, random Eagle promises/oaths/pledges/warranties/user-agreements, I remain seated. I will stand and recite just the Scout Oath and Law as I did at my ECOH.

 

Another $0.02,

 

I don't feel strongly about this, but I agree.  I see relatively little harm though.  I just don't see the point of a separate oath or pledge or charge.  

 

The ECOH is to recognize someone who already earned the award.  The ECOH has no authority to award or to add another pledge or oath or anything.  I like it when the ECOH is kept simple.  I personally like it when it's kept to the scout oath and law.  Those are the words we hope each scout remembers for the rest of his life.  Personally, I hope by remembering the scout oath and law, the scout can think about those words; use them as guiding influences; and, use them when making decisions.  I don't see value adding a one-time only oath or charge.  

Edited by fred johnson

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I see value in a charge. I liken it to when a speaker at a graduation recognizes the future hopes for the graduates. A pledge, not so much. The scout (or graduate in my simile) is not required to accept the challenge (charge) put forth. They have already earned the honor being bestowed.

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I am not a huge fan of the Eagle Charge.  I don't think it's necessary to tell the kid he's a "marked man" at his Eagle ceremony.  Let him revel in his accomplishment in the company of his family, friends, fellow Scouts and leaders, etc.  A briefer reference tgo his future obligations to Scouting, mankind, etc. would be preferable in my opinion.

 

The Eagle Pledge (we use the one with "make my training an example" which I have always thought was slightly curious wording, but I don't think the kids are sitting there analyzing the grammar), on the other hand, I am ok with.  At the peak of the advancement program, there's a new pledge.  They don't have to memorize it, they are just repeating after the person administering the pledge.  In our troop, at that point all Eagle Scouts, ranging from those still in the troop to all others in attendance, are standing in a semicircle around the Eagle candidate and repeat the pledge along with him.  I think it's a good part of the ceremony, and even better when my son attends an ECOH for his old troop and is standing up there, which I did not earn the right to do myself.  My "Eagle dad" pride gets renewed a little bit.

 

It's certainly better than listening to "Every 100 Scouts" and out of date statistics for how many Eagle Scouts are in Congress, the astronaut corps, etc. etc., for the 100th time.  We know it's a big deal.  That's why we're here.  Let's get on with it and focus on our new Eagle, not some dry and obsolete statistics.

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I always tell my Scouts, anything in the ceremony is optional....I think the Charge/Challenge/Pledge is corny as heck. But its the tradition at this point.

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I always tell my Scouts, anything in the ceremony is optional....I think the Charge/Challenge/Pledge is corny as heck. But its the tradition at this point.

 

You could argue that any ceremony is corny.  But if it is kept within reason, I think there is a benefit to it.

 

In about a month my Eagle-son will be undergoing a much cornier ceremony designed to join him in wedded bliss to his girlfriend, till death do they part.  The ceremonies don't stop, they just become bigger and more extravagant.

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You could argue that any ceremony is corny.  But if it is kept within reason, I think there is a benefit to it.

 

In about a month my Eagle-son will be undergoing a much cornier ceremony designed to join him in wedded bliss to his girlfriend, till death do they part.  The ceremonies don't stop, they just become bigger and more extravagant.

 

Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)

When the DILT was going through sticker shock and agonizing over the guest list, I told her if she wanted to elope, I'd block off the street after they got back, set up a big come-as-you-are ox-roast in the back yard, and she could invite whomever she wanted (plus any neighbors who would otherwise complain about the noise and whomever I would need to permit the street closure). Everyone would eat mighty fine and dance all night (maybe into the next day) for a third the trouble.

 

She didn't bite.

Quite a few did eat, and we danced till about 10. Almost as fun as the grad par-T's that followed the son's ECoHs!

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Plan B - elope.  The thrifty plan. :)

 

I agree, but nobody has asked me for my opinion, and I'm not paying for it.

 

Come to think of it, I liked that plan 35 years ago for myself, but nobody really asked for my opinion then, either.

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Fall of 1977...I recall a charge or an oath or something of the sort at our ceremony

 

There were six of us, and the narrator read the charge/pledge in bite size chunks.   We recited it back at the appropriate spots.   Don't recall the wording, but it indicated that we were now expected to be role models, etc.

 

In retrospect, seemed a bit redundant.   But it no doubt added to the pageantry, so I guess it was of some value.

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