Saturday, August 18, 2012

Philmont Memories 1: The Coming American

The ranger with us the first two days at Philmont was Gordon Broadbent, a cadet from the U.S Air Force Academy.  "Captain America" was a pretty amazing guy.  The second night, Gordon shared with us a poem from the Academy.  "Bring Me Men", the first part of the first line, used to hang in two foot tall letters over a ramp that first year cadets walked over.

The poem is "The Coming American", by Sam Walter Cross, and the whole thing is pretty appropriate for Boy Scouts too:

Bring me men to match my mountains;
Bring me men to match my plains, –
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.

Bring me men to match my prairies,
Men to match my inland seas,
Men whose thought shall pave a highway
Up to ampler destinies;
Pioneers to clear Thought’s marshlands,
And to cleanse old Error’s fen;
Bring me men to match my mountains –
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my forests,
Strong to fight the storm and blast,
Branching toward the skyey future,
Rooted in the fertile past.

Bring me men to match my valleys,
Tolerant of sun and snow,
Men within whose fruitful purpose
Time’s consummate blooms shall grow.
Men to tame the tigerish instincts
Of the lair and cave and den,
Cleans the dragon slime of Nature –
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my rivers,
Continent cleavers, flowing free,
Drawn by the eternal madness
To be mingled with the sea;
Men of oceanic impulse,
Men whose moral currents sweep
Toward the wide-enfolding ocean
Of an undiscovered deep;
Men who feel the strong pulsation
Of the Central Sea, and then
Time their currents to its earth throb –
Bring me men!

Later that second Philmont night in Old Camp, Gordon filled out the crew's journal for the day.  His first line called us a "Troop of Men".  Quite a compliment and a good goal for our Ventures to aspire to.

In 2004 the "Core Values Wall" replaced the "Bring Me Men" Ramp at the Academy.  The USAFA core values are "Integrity First.  Service Before Self.  Excellence in All We Do."  Not too different from the Boy Scout goals of building Character, Citizenship, and Fitness.