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"There is something about the Fraternal Order of Eagles that is different, distinctive, something not to be found in any other Order," an Indiana governor once observed. Other fraternal orders promote good fellowship, do good deeds, provide death payments or provide other benefits for their members, but the Eagles go further than that. They reach outside their own ranks to fight for the welfare of all.
Since February of 1898, when the Order was founded by six theater owners in a Seattle waterfront shipyard, the Eagles not only welcomed the average man as a member, but fought for his right to a life of dignity and self-respect. To call the roll of early Eagle crusades -- for Workmen's Compensation Act, Mother's Pensions, Old Age Pensions and Social Security Laws - is to know what the Hoosier Congressman Louis Ludlow had in mind when he said of the Order, "It reaches out and tries to help in solving the distressing and difficult problems of human relief."
As the late Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested they be, Eagles' crusades are continuing.
"The pen I am presenting to the order is a symbol of my approval of the Fraternity's vision and courage," said Roosevelt when he signed the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935, and gave the pen he used to the Eagles. "May its possession inspire your members to rededicate their efforts and those of the fraternity to the insuring of such economic and political conditions as well being a greater degree of happiness to our people."
February 6 -- the anniversary of the founding of the Eagles -- is a road marker, pointing the way to the future as well as commemorating the progress that we have made. To Eagle programs for Old Age Security, Cancer Research, Youth Guidance and Inter-Faith Brotherhood must be added resolute Eagle support for making democracy work and helping freedom 'ring round the world.' For Eagledom, more than anything else, is a dream -- the dream that ordinary men and women everywhere are entitled to and shall enjoy the right to life, to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness with some reasonable chance of catching up to it in their lifetimes.
Teddy R. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Warren G. Harding
John F. Kennedy
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Buffalo, New York
Honorary Life Member, Georgia
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