For this last February entry on Scouting in America, we look at the square knot. Since the early 1940s, its image has appeared above the left pocket of Scout uniforms, as the equivalent of military ribbons. (At this time, I only have one -- the red, white, and blue of Eagle Scout. That's on the second row, to the viewer's right.) Some adults manage to rack up the entire gamut of training awards. Mine will be a modest effort, I'm afraid. I always said I'd be satisfied with one row, thrilled with two, and embarrassed by three. The "official" maximum for proper uniform wear is six, not that this would stop the real die-hards in the crowd. Then there was one incident as a boy, where I probably would have received the Medal of Merit (blue and gold, tan background) for saving some guy from bleeding to death (sigh!)... but that's another story. (Click on the image of knots to learn more.)
The knot is also one of the basic ones required for the Tenderfoot badge. This Mac Daddy of All Knots is a good all-purpose knot for tying two pieces of rope together. A demonstration appears above.
Spring is on the way, so "Be Prepared." We'll see you on the trail.
Eagle Scout Michael Strasburg, and his brother, proudly raise Troop 111's flag at the North Pole on 21 April 2003. (Photo courtesy BSA Troop 111, Arlington, Virginia)