Vigil Honor

First Vigil Honor Certificates

At the 1938 National Lodge Meeting, Thomas Cairns introduced the idea of presenting a certificate to each Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow (OA). The National Lodge approved the idea and gave Cairns the authority to have the certificates printed and presented.

Third Degree / Vigil Honor OA Sashes

The first example of anything resembling a sash worn by recipients of the Third Degree (Vigil Honor) is a fraternal “bib” type three-part sash. These sashes can be observed around the necks of founders E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson in the photograph taken at the Rededication Ceremony held at Camp Biddle in conjunction with the first Grand Lodge Meeting in 1921. Other than the photograph itself, there is no other evidence, documentation or even confirmation that these are indeed Third Degree sashes.

Ceremonies Principal Characters Change

Dateline: ---- Grand Lodge Bulletin, January 1, 1931.

Important! Attached to this bulletin is a very important list, which should receive consideration not only of the Supreme Chief of the Fire, but other members of the local lodge who may be interested. This is a sheet headed ‘Suggested Terminology for ORDER OF THE ARROW Officers.’ Please give this your earnest attention and write this office your opinion on it. The advantage of this list lies in the fact that all Indian names used are genuine, being taken from the LENNI-LENAPE dictionary. The term “Olomypees” and “Pow-Wow” are dropped because neither are Indian terms and are not found in the Delaware language.

First Vigil Honor Sash

The only known photograph of the original sash for Third Degree (Vigil Honor) members is from the rededication council fire at Camp Biddle during the 1921 first meeting of the Grand Lodge. The photo shows the three part “bib” type sash around both E. Urner Goodman’s and Carroll A. Edson’s necks. One side of the triangle had an arrow pointing over the right shoulder signifying the First Degree. One side of the triangle had an arrow pointing over the left shoulder signifying the Second Degree. The third side of the triangle had an arrow pointing to Goodman’s left as he wore it. The third arrow and side completed the triangle, which was the sign of the Third Degree. There are no other known pictures showing this bib; nor are there any known bib type sashes in collections or displays. There is also no evidence that anyone other than Goodman and Edson ever wore this sash.

Goodman - Early Years of OA

Urner Goodman enjoyed much success in the early days of his career as a professional Scouter. Good with people, a gifted writer and speaker and an effective organizer, he knew how to motivate volunteers and staff.

Early on he attracted the attention of national BSA leadership. Only on the job for a year, he and Carroll Edson attended the national meeting as observers. During one of the large sessions, he was pleasantly surprised when Chief Scout Executive Dr. James E. West called on him to describe the success Scouting was having in Philadelphia.

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