The Reading Room Archive: Patriotic

Sit back, relax, enjoy some brief tidbits of Masonic information.

(Whenever possible, credit is given to the source or sources of these materials.  Should you recognize anything which could be better attributed, please notify the webmaster!  Note also that the webmaster, and most especially Aurora Lodge 156, do not certify the accuracy of these items.  They are here for the inquiring mind to partake and enjoy, not as absolute truths.)

July, 2003 contributions from W.B. Wayne Carter
History Lesson:  4TH OF JULY

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
   Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
   Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. 
   Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
   Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
   They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  What kind of men were they?
   Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.  Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
   Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his Ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.  He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
   Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.  He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
   Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
   At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.  He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
   Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.  The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
   John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.  Their 13 children fled for their lives.  His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste.  For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.  Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn't.  So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots.  It's not much to ask for the price they paid.
Remember: freedom is never free!

October, 2002 contributions from Bro. Carl Piazza
Why the American Flag is Folded 13 Times  by anon

Have you ever noticed how, when THE AMERICAN FLAG IS on TV or at military funerals that the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times?
    I've known how the 21 gun salute was determined (adding the individual digits of 1776), but only recently learned why the flag was folded 13 times when it is lowered or when it is folded and handed to the widow at the burial of a veteran.

Here it is:

~The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
~The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
~The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
~The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
~The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
~The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
~The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
~The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
~The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
~The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
~The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Jewish citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
~The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son,and Holy Spirit.
~Finally, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust".

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things which have deep meaning. You will see many flags folded in the coming weeks, and now you will know why.

Material provided by W.B. Wayne Carter, 
from Masonic Quiz Book 1949, 1950

Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Indian who was initiated into Masonry in London in 1776.  While in command of some Indian troops in the British service, he was to prepare Captain McKinsty, an officer in the Colonial army for torture, when he noticed the mystic appeal in the hour of danger, whereupon he interposed and saved his brother from his impending fate.  He rescued McKinsty, took him to Quebec, and placed him in the hands of English Masons, who eventually returned him,  uninjured to the American outposts.  Years afterwards Brant visited McKinsty at his home in Greendale N.Y.

Brother Frederick A. Bartholdi, a member of  Lodge Alsace-Lorraine (formed in 1872), began to design the mammoth figure known as the Statue of Liberty.  He addressed his Lodge on June 19, 1884 explaining his model and the purpose behind the proposal.  He again addressed the Lodge on November 13, 1887, giving the methods adopted for the erection.  He finally addressed his Lodge in 1887 to tell of the ardent welcome he had received from his brethren and friends in America.

The Cornerstone was laid in a Masonic ceremony 1884.  It was dedicated October 28, 1886.

General James Harold Doolittle has a most unique history regarding his Masonic membership due to his army connections in World War I.  Acting under a special dispensation from the Grand Lodge of California, Hollenbeck Lodge No. 319, F. & A.M., of Los Angeles, elected him to receive the three degrees of Masonry on August 8, 1918.  The candidate was at the time in Louisiana with the air force and had received orders to go overseas immediately.  In consequence, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana issued a special dispensation allowing him to be initiated, passed, and raised during one meeting in Lake Charles Lodge No. 165, F.&A.M. on August 16, 1918.   On October 19, 1945, General Doolittle received the 33rd degree at the House of the Temple in Washington with, among others, President Harry S. Truman, General Henry Harley Arnold, and James Cash Penney. 

  When the Liberty Bell cracked.  Tradition states that the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cracked while tolling the death of the
  John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,  known as the "Father of the Judiciary". 

  He was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Virginia,  1793- 95. 

   Inaugural bibles are furnished by the U.S. President-Elect, but George Washington did not bring one.  Aides ran across
  the street from the Inaugural site in New York City and borrowed the altar Bible from St. John's Lodge No. 1 (then No. 2)   for the ceremony. 

 Freemason David Crockett was a  Colonel in the Army, a Congressman and a well known backwoodsman.  During the "Battle of the Alamo" he was captured by the Enemy Commander, Santa Ana, a Mexican Freemason.



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