When we think of a brother, we generally think of a sibling, both younger and older. Someone who shared childhood memories and laughter with us: someone who kept pestering us as we drove away on our family vacations to visit distant relatives. Our brothers have somehow helped us grow, both in our relationship and as individuals. Brothers have affected our lives; they are responsible for looking out for us, just as we are for them. However, in the Order of the Arrow, this word "Brother" has a different meaning, one that means something unique to each and every one of us.
We commonly use this word "brother" in our Order, but what does it mean? Why is it that the chief addresses us as brothers? Why is it that we feel the way we do, about these people that are not even related to us? I suppose it all started when we stepped forward and chose to undertake that Ordeal. That Ordeal weekend, we spent a great amount of time cheerfully serving our camps and communities, cheerfully serving each other. As the day progressed, we started to think differently about one another, we began to feel true brotherhood. That night we were bound together in this brotherhood, and then we heard, at the end of our Ordeal ceremony, an exclamation from our chief: "My Brothers!!! I congratulate you..." Is this what makes us brothers?
Well, I have traveled from coast to coast, south to north and east to west. I have seen the products of our Order. I have seen brotherhood at its best. At the Train the Trainer in the Florida Keys, we traveled throughout Key West as a pack, a band of brothers, nothing could separate us. In North Carolina, at the Cardinal Conclave, lodges gathered for an Iron Man competition, and cheered each competitor on as they all raced through this triathlon race. In Alaska I was part of a lodge that toured around Anchorage, and we showed the world around us that we were the best definition of brothers. I have seen brotherhood from coast to coast, and brothers, it is strong.
We are brothers by choice, and we share a bond that any Scout could only dream of. We have a bond that can never be broken, and it is all explained in one word, our admonition. This is what our founder could only imagine, this is what he dreamed. Brothers, this dream of perfect brotherhood has now become a reality and I for one am thankful for that.