When President George W. Bush arrived at Virginia’s Fort A.P. Hill for the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree, a couple of incidents had already happened that he mentioned in his remarks.
First, vicious storms had swept through the area earlier in the week after intense triple-digit July heat, forcing a postponement in his visit, and he thanked the gathering for their “rain check.”
<a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/27/us/questions-remain-as-scouts-try-to-deal-with-four-deaths.html”>Second, and most tragic, </a>was that four Scout leaders from Alaska had been electrocuted just five days earlier at the beginning of the event. As the men worked to erect a canvas tent, a tall metal pole touched a live electrical wire, killing them instantly in front of Scouts helping set up the tent, an incident the president addressed while expressing condolences at the loss.
But looking back now one day after Donald Trump’s narcissistic, politically-laced, rambling, and discourteous speech at the 2017 Jamboree, something that stands out is that the subject of President Bush’s remarks was scouting. Not politics. Not his campaign. Not bashing his predecessor. His remarks were respectful and appropriate for 30,000 boys ages 11-17, delivered with the dignity of a United States President.
At one point in typical Dubya style he quipped, “When I was a Cub Scout, my mother was our den mother. It’s about the time her hair turned white,” to laughter from the crowd.
Often with chants of “USA! USA! USA!” in the background, the president thanked Scouts for 1.5 million hours of volunteering in their communities, sprinkled in some light-hearted jokes, hailed volunteer Scout leaders, noted former Scouts who were currently serving in his administration, was grateful to Scouts who go on to serve in the military, and expressed his optimism for the years ahead as he stood in front of America’s future leaders.
Three video clips capture President Bush’s entire remarks. This is what a leader sounds like addressing the Boy Scouts of America. I hope we never lose sight of that.
Remarks by President George W. Bush
National Boy Scout Jamboree — July 31, 2005
Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia