But no longer! Here, for the first time in print, is my speech.
As a very young boy, I read my father's old Scout handbooks, and I learned that he was an Eagle Scout, and I said to myself, I wish I could be an Eagle. When I joined Scouting as a young Webelos, that was the shining, far-off goal that I aspired to, and I had the luck of meeting some amazing young Eagles when I was only a Tenderfoot. They acted as inspirations for me as I continued on, earning merit badges and advancing through the ranks of Scouting. Over the years, my goal became less of an abstraction and more of a reality, and I got the chance to really understand the ideals of Scouting as I sought to achieve the pinnacle of Scouting. Looking back to those old Scout handbooks, I can see that the ideals of Scouting are visible through all of them, from the oldest to the newest. Be prepared, do a good turn daily, respect the outdoors, and make the most of yourself that you can. I've learned, through Scouting, on my Trail to Eagle, that there's a difference between saying that you believe in something and actually acting it out through service to others. I learned that there's more to people than first meets the eye, and I've learned that I'm more capable in the outdoors than I thought I would be. I've learned about leadership, and that the best leader is not self-serving but a servant who helps everyone around him; I've learned that procrastination is evil, which is why I had this speech written before today, and I've learned that cheerful service to others is much more rewarding than it first seems. I've learned that, through personal diligence and the support of my loved ones, I can achieve my dreams. Because that's what this award is, to me. Most of all, I've learned that becoming an Eagle isn't only an honor, it's a responsibility. It's a promise to myself, to everyone who's helped me, that I won't forget everything I've learned here in Scouting. That I will live by the Scout Oath and Law. That I will do my best to do my duty, to God and my country. That's what being an Eagle means to me. Thank you.
- Tartan A. Collier