The inaugural broadcast of “A Century of Honor: Celebrating 100 Years of Service to God and Country” was presented at the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, October 29, 2013. Over a million scouters and their guests throughout the United States watched from Church buildings in their areas, while approximately 21,000 filled the Conference Center itself to view the spectacular. One local spot where nearly 160 people gathered was the West Stake Center at 3530 West Magee Road.
The evening began with the usual flag ceremony, enhanced by Scouts on trumpets a choir of Cub Scouts who provided a moving rendition of the National Anthem.
David L. Beck, General Young Men’s President of the Church and Rosemary M. Wixom, General President of the children’s Primary organization (which includes over 10,000 Cub Scout units) kicked off the proceedings by asking all who were watching to text to a common number so that they could get a count of how many were watching. The results are posted and updating at http://www.scouts100.lds.org/. Beck declared that this was the largest Scout gathering ever, and the numbers will continue to climb as more scouts view it online in the coming weeks.
An opening prayer was offered by R. Chip Turner, Chairman of the BSA Religious Relationships Task Force and a Baptist clergyman, offered the opening prayer.
The presentation had earmarks of a Broadway show, complete drama, original songs, a zip line, rappellers dropping from the ceiling, and flying kayaks. Stunningly accurate portrayals of W. D. Boyce (who brought Scouting to America), Lord Robert Baden Powell (who originated Scouting in England), Joseph F. Smith (prophet of the Church in 1913, when the affliation with Scouting began) and other notable historical figures were knitted together by animated narration provided by scouts in period uniforms, from early 20 century to the present.
Video presentations included interviews with men who had been Scouts in the 1930s and 40s, talking not only about the fun they had, but the lasting impact the values they learned had on their lives. Later, similar footage of current Scouts and their leaders talked about how their Scouting experiences make them better people.
A choir composed of Eagle Scout fathers, sons and grandfathers presented both moving and amusing numbers, including “Ma, You Earned Your Eagle.” The actors led the choir in elevating mothers, who so often are the driving force behind their scouts, from “unsung” to “sung” hero status. The audience exuberantly joined in.
NEW BSA LEADERSHIP TRAINING CENTER TO BE NAMED FOR PRESIDENT MONSON
Tributes were paid to Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a Scout leader for nearly 44 years for the work he has done worldwide for the program. Monson has earned every Scouting award possible, and the effect the values of Scouting have had on him is apparent. Video presentations touched on some of that, and included footage of an impromptu stop he made in the Gila Valley in 2010 to greet Church members who had hoped only to get a glimpse of him as his motorcade drove by.
It was announced that earlier in the day he had been awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the life of a girl when he was a 12-year-old Scout.
A surprise moment came when BSA National President Wayne Perry announced that the new Leadership Excellence Complex at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia would be named for Monson.
When Perry said, “Will Scouter President Monson please come forward,” a visibly humbled Monson obeyed. He spoke briefly, saying he could, “think of nothing with which I would rather have my name associated than the leadership excellence complex of this organization.”
He then shared an anecdote about his first Scout campout, and afterward with power about the power of BSA to build young men. “Scouting helps bring out the best in each of us.” He noted how Scout activities heighten abilities to think, plan, and achieve. “If ever there were a time when the principles of Scouting were vitally needed, that time is now,” he said.
In all, Monson received three extended standing ovations.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square added to the spirit of the meeting, by singing “This Land Is Your Land,” “God Bless America,” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The entire cast and all choirs then overflowed the stage singing a stirring reprise of “On My Honor.”
The program can be viewed at any time at http://www.scouts100.lds.org/
Ken Tucker, Scout Executive for the Catalina Council, encourages all Scout units to send pictures and reports of their activities to be posted on the council’s Facebook page. Find out how at: http://www.catalinacouncil.org/about-the-council/in-the-news/ .
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