Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

In 1967, an Eagle performed the first artificial heart transplant. In 1969, an Eagle was the first to walk on the moon. In 1974, an Eagle was sworn in as President of the United States. That same year, an Eagle hit his 715th home run. In 1977, an Eagle produced the epic, Star Wars. In 2005, an Eagle took a seat on the United States Supreme Court. And today, an Eagle serves as Secretary of Defense and yet another reigns over the great state of Texas.

Of course I am talking about Dr. William Devries, Neil Armstrong, President Gerald Ford, Hank Aaron, Steven Spielberg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Governor Rick Perry. All of these men share the distinction of being an Eagle Scout. But this is just a snapshot of leaders in our countryís history that have all been an elite member of the Boys Scouts of America.

During the 1950s an Eagle and his wife, Harriett, captivated American TV audiences. A decade later, an Eagle opened his first Wal-Mart. In 1988, an Eagle founded his second multi-million dollar business, Perot Systems, and put a kink in the 1992 Presidential elections.

This list goes on and on to include Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, military and political leaders, over three dozen astronauts, professional athletes, and even just regular oleí dads, grandfathers, uncles and brothers. This year in Congressional District 2, I have been honored to recognize over 20 young men that have reached the Scoutsí highest honor.

When I have the opportunity to participate in an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony, I am always reminded of a story my grandmother told of an eagle and an oyster:

When the Lord made the oyster he gave the oyster absolute economic and social security. Everything is easy for the oyster. The oyster does not have to hunt for food; he just opens his shell and food rushes in. He has a built-in place to live and is content with living on the bottom of the ocean, in the mud, surrounded by thousand and thousands of other oysters. The Lord made a lot of oysters.

But when the Lord made the eagle, he made everything difficult for the eagle. The eagle must build his home in the tallest of trees in the highest of mountains. He must fly for miles in the snow and sleet to find food. But when threatened the eagle is a mighty foe against all of his enemies. He never gives in. He never gives up. The Lord made only a handful of eagles. That is why we honor and praise eagles and not oysters!

Only 1.5 million men have earned the rank of Eagle since it was first established in 1911. This is a rank that is reserved for the best of the best. The young man that never gives in ñ never gives up. Countless years of dedication go into earning this remarkable and impressive title. And just like the majestic creature that soars above the skies, an Eagle Scout soars above all the rest.

And thatís just the way it is.