Franklin D. Roosevelt photo

Radio Address for the Thirty-first Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

February 08, 1941

Fellow Scouts:

The record of your achievements during the past year is something of which we can all be proud. I am most favorably impressed with the scope and the magnitude of the emergency service training program that is now being developed by the Boy Scouts of America.

The Boy Scouts of today are approaching manhood at a grave hour in the world's history. Recent events have threatened the security of free men everywhere; and the democratic way of life is being challenged in many parts of the world. The United States must be strong if our free way of life is to be maintained and for our national policy we, as a Nation, have adopted the motto of the Boy Scout organization—BE PREPARED.

In many ways the Boy Scouts have sought to emulate the deeds of the early American pioneers who subdued the wilderness and established on a new-found continent a better human society. But it is not primarily for mere physical feats that the Boy Scout movement has won the high praise and the esteem of the American people. It is rather because the Boy Scouts have dedicated themselves to the development of those qualities of character, those qualities of citizenship, upon which the future of our democracy rests.

In this grave hour national defense dominates the heart and mind and soul of America. The Government must take the major responsibility, since it alone represents all of the people acting in concert. But the Government cannot and should not preempt those fields of private endeavor that have become an indispensable part of life in America.

You who are members of the Boy Scouts have a great opportunity in your organization to do your part in this great task. In your Scout troops you have the opportunity to develop the type of leadership, the group cooperation, which is so greatly needed in a democracy such as ours. You have opportunities in. your Scouting program to develop those physical and mental qualities upon which the survival of a self-governing community depends.

The Boy Scouts have made and will continue to make an important contribution to the welfare of America's young manhood. The Boy Scouts have always responded generously when called into action in the service of their communities and their fellow citizens. And so the Nation is confident that the Boy Scouts stand ready to contribute to the national welfare in these critical hours. It follows, therefore, that I am proud of what you have done, I am proud of what you are doing—and I am proud of what I know you will do in days to come in playing your part in our American defense.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address for the Thirty-first Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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