Strike Up the Band



Music, William Congreve argued 300 years ago, has “charms to sooth a savage breast.” But music can also stir up emotions, as Hollywood filmmakers regularly demonstrate.

If you can recruit a musician or two, you can capture a little bit of music’s emotional impact at your next Eagle court of honor. How? By including a performance of “Trail the Eagle,” the unofficial anthem of Eagle Scouts, in the ceremony.

“Trail the Eagle” is a short song, sung to the tune of “On, Wisconsin!” Here are the words:

Trail the Eagle,
Trail the Eagle,
Climbing all the time.
First the Star and then the Life
Will on your bosom shine.

Keep climbing!
Blaze the trail and we will follow,
Hark the Eagle’s call;
On, brothers, on until we’re Eagles all.

So where can you find the music (assuming you don’t live in Wisconsin and know it by heart)? Many online sheet-music vendors sell it; here’s one: You can also find a free facsimile version of the music from 1910 at


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