EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 8, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHEERS to a group of Methuen students, who made a trip to Washington to see something most of us will never witness — a presidential inauguration.

Some 37 high school seniors and their two chaperones went to Washington to make the usual rounds of monuments and museums. On Jan. 21, they also went to the Mall to see the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

“Any presidential inauguration is crucial because it represents so much to the American people,” senior Emily West Geary told reporter Douglas Moser. “Plus it was President Obama on Martin Luther King Jr., Day and that made it so much more special.”

The students said the jostling and waking up before dawn to stand in the cold was worth it.

“It was a once in a lifetime thing,” senior Jeffrey Letourneau told Moser.

The group also visited the Holocaust Museum, the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court and many of the monuments around the city.

“Seeing the sacrifices our country has made through its history and the deeds and perseverance to get where we are, it gave me a lot of pride as an American,” West Geary said.

The inauguration of a president is a special event, marking either a peaceful transition of power or the continuation of a term in office granted by the American people. In our country, our leaders take the reins of government by virtue of prevailing at the ballot box, not by force of arms. In taking the oath of office as required by the Constitution, a president engages in a solemn ceremony that connects him to the time of our founders.

Congratulations to these Methuen students on witnessing this historic event.

CHEERS to those recognized for earning the rank of Eagle Scout at an honors banquet last week held by the Yankee Clipper Council.

Six members of Troop 76 in Andover were among the 188 scouts honored at the recognition banquet last Friday night. The scouts, along with their peers from other troops as well as older Eagle Scouts talked about what it takes to earn scouting’s highest honor.

Andover Boy Scout Troop 76 Scoutmaster Don Milligan, 75, told our reporters it took him many years to realize that earning the rank of Eagle Scout in 1952 was “a big deal.”

“I got my badge on my 15th birthday and at the time, it really didn’t mean a lot,” Milligan recalled. “It was something I became more proud of when I got involved in scouting as an adult leader. Yeah, I think it’s a big deal now. That’s why I push it on the troop.”

Ross Barton, 19, of Andover said earning the Eagle Scout rank was a lot of hard work. Barton said building a handicapped accessible bridge along the hiking trail at West Parish Meadow was the toughest challenge.

“It’s something I’m proud of, not just for myself — but for my parents too, because my parents encouraged me and helped me a lot,” he said.

Kyle Stuart, 18, of Troop 1 in Haverhill, organized a landscaping project at the Free Christian Church in North Andover. Stuart wants to be an aerospace engineer.

Scouting has taught him the importance of “making sure you do right by others,” he said.

Congratulations to all whose hard work earned them scouting’s highest honor.