Today, I received my Eagle Scout award, the highest rank you can earn in scouting. The ceremony came, went wonderfully, and then ended. However, when I arrived at home, I couldn’t seem to take off that tan shirt yet. I was overjoyed at the fact I finally had my Eagle Scout medal dangling over my Life Scout badge. I was proud that the red, white, and blue scarf hugged my neck, with the Eagle Scout slide holding it in place. I just couldn’t take it off.
However, evening came, and after I opened my gifts, I went up to the bathroom to take off my shirt. I looked in the mirror, and I paused. It dawned on me that this was it. This was the end of the Trail to Eagle. Now that I am 18, I can no longer wear most of the badges I wore on that uniform for years. My Arrow of Life, my Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, and most importantly my life badge would no longer be present on my uniform. That uniform has bore that life badge since I received it in 2009. For five years, the eagle in that heart has seen all of the ups and downs in scouting. I knew that once I took that shirt off, it would not be the same the next time I put it on. It would be bare, with nothing on the pockets except an OA flap. There would be no patrol patch, and I knew that there would only be two little knots recognizing that I earned my Arrow of Light and Eagle Scout. That is not the same as wearing the actual awards on my shirt, however it was time to call an end to my long scouting career. I took off the uniform, hung it up, and then thought… I am still an Eagle.
Written May 4th, 2014