In grateful tribute to the men and women whose generosity, devotion, and leadership have brought Scouting to the nation's youth and to honor all members of the Boy Scouts of America who in days of peace and times of peril have done their duty to God and their country this memorial was authorized by the Congress of the United States and erected in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.
-Boy Scout Memorial inscription
Dedicated: November 7, 1964
Sculptor: Donald DeLue
Architect: William Henry Deacy
During the 50th Anniversary Year of Scouting (1959), a proposal was made to establish the memorial on a site in Washington, DC. Lyndon Johnson, who was the Senate majority leader at the time, introduced the measure to the Senate. It was constructed at no expense to the government. The funds were raised from Scout units and each donor signed a scroll that was later placed in the pedestal of the statue. The memorial was eventually unveiled in a ceremony on November 7, 1964. The statue was accepted for the country by Associate Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, who noted it was his fiftieth anniversary as an Eagle Scout.
The statue itself consists of three figures (pictured at right). Each figure, a Boy Scout, man, and woman, symbolizes the idea of the great and noble forces that are an inspiring background for each Scout as he goes about the business of becoming a man and citizen. The male figure symbolizes physical, mental, and moral fitness, love of country, good citizenship, loyalty, honor, courage, and clean living. He carries a helmet, a symbol of masculine attire and a live oak branch, a symbol of peace and of strength. The female figure symbolizes enlightenment with the light of faith, love of God, high ideals, liberty, justice, freedom, democracy, and love of fellow man. She holds high the eternal flame of God's Holy Spirit. The figure of the Boy Scout represents the hopes of all past, present, and future scouts around the world and the hopes of every home, church, and school and that all that is great and noble in the nation's past and present will continue to live in scouts and through them for many generations to come.
A small pool in front of the memorial represents the honor of those children who joined the Boy Scouts of America.
The 2009 Rehabilitation Project
Over the years since the memorial was constructed, the fountain's operation has deteriorated. In the past, there have been minor repairs completed. However, beginning the week of March 17, 2009, the National Park Service began a thorough rehabilitation of the memorial, with funding provided by the US Congress.
The complex mechanics of the fountain were restored to their original function. The memorial and pool were restored to their original appearance and water display. In order to achieve this, new pumps and piping were installed, the cracked marble panels in the pool basin were replaced with new ones to match the original, the bronze statues were cleaned and polished, the benches on the plaza surrounding the pool were repaired, and drainage problems on the plaza were addressed.
The Boy Scout Memorial was reopened to the public in April 2010.