Ford was proud of his association with Scouting. I am proud that he included Scouts directly and prominently in his funeral plans, viz., the delegation of Eagles who greeted his casket at the WW II Memorial on the procession to the Capitol. But there were other boys and men in BSA uniform at many other times and places. I saw some at Andrews AFB this afternoon, as his casket was borne to the plane to take him to Grand Rapids.
President Ford is remembered these days as an "emotionally solid" man -- an exception to the prima donnas who typically vie for the Presidency. Everything about him breathed an air of normality -- his home life, his religious commitments, his way of relating to other people, the way he talked, his sense of himself -- and also his Scouting history.
Nowadays, the lefty loonies keep trying to marginalize the Boy Scouts, to present us as some kind of hate group or neo-Fascist org. Having failed to force the BSA to modify its stands on homosexuality and atheism, all that is left to them is to spend their fury on petty lawsuits and overheated rhetoric in an attempt to make ordinary Americans look askance at Scouting.
Now, BSA is not a perfect organization, nor are its members always to be admired. But Scouting, in America and world-wide, is one of the great youth movements in history -- a force for peace and understanding, and a training ground for civic and private character. In its wholesome fun and its appreciation of the environment, it is unparalleled in its good impact upon youth. It derives from the very heart of Normal, which is why the Abnormal, whose terms of praise are so often words like "unorthodox," "radical," "controversial" and the like, hate it so much.
I don't know if Jerry Ford ever heard or repeated the Scoutmaster's Benediction, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was familiar to him. Let it be my comment upon his life, his Presidency, and his going.
And now, may the Master of all good ScoutsGood night, Eagle Scout Ford.
be with us until we meet again,
and may we follow the trail that leads to him.