Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear Brethren and Friends:

Good Morning Everyone and Welcome to Fall, well, almost.
That's right we are on the cusp (whatever a cusp is) of Autumn and that means that our Fall Reunion is ever so closer to its beginning.
It all begins on Friday, 24 October. Yes, that's right, October 24th, we had to move it back a week due to a conflict rental with the Grand Lodge.
Did you know that although this date change might have created some difficulty for some of you, hopefully not our Cast members, but, it has done ONE good thing! What's that you ask? Well, it will now EXTEND our petition deadline by one week! Yes, that's right. You now have until Friday, 17 October to get petitions in for this Class!
Did I mention how bad we need those? Well we do. As of right now, we are way behind our normal Candidate sign up. I know we've had some heavy classes of late, so maybe the 'orchards' are bit bare, but there are those guys that have been Masons for years, decades even, who've never gone beyond the Blue Lodge. Those are the guys that you want to approach. Tell them about they've missed so much already and hey, didn't you always want to be a 32nd Degree Mason anyway? Or my personal favorite, that guy who isn't a Scottish Rite Mason, but yet complains whenever the 33rd Candidate lists comes out. He's not even a Scottish Rite Mason, but yet every year, you'll hear him grumble about "How did he get it? He don't deserve it." Unbelievable! You probably know one of those guys yourself.
Enough of that rant. We need Candidates. Lets get them!
Okay where was I? Getting back to the 24th; we will present the 4th, 6th and 23rd Degrees that evening. Bro. Brian Skoff returns as Degree Master for the 4th Degree. Ill. John Wagner takes on his first duty assignment as Degree Master for the 6th, and a Cast made up of members of Jerusalem Lodge No. 506 will present the 23rd.
Get a Candidate!

Just a little observation that I thought I'd share from Saturday's Autumn Day event;
During the ceremony for the new Eternal Flame at the Veteran's Grove at our Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, our Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer in his remarks, commented that Freemasons are Patriots. No truer words were ever uttered. As the band played the anthems of the branches, our Veteran Brethren rose to stand while their song played. You saw uniforms, hats, shirts and jackets sprinkled through the crowd representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Illustrious Brother Coy also provided a history of members of the Craft that served in all the wars and conflicts. When he discussed World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current War on Terror, he asked Veterans who served in those conflicts to arise, which they did to the applause of everyone present.
I'm also so glad I had my sunglasses on to shade the tears in my eyes as I sang along with the crowd to "God Bless America."
And when our very own Valley Brother and Right Worshipful Grand Master, Ill. Robert Bateman put the torch to cauldron to light the Eternal Flame, you could feel the pride throughout the crowd, and then came the flyover by the World War II era bomber. Wow.
Each Veteran was provided with a lanyard to wear with his service branch seal on it to identify him as a particular service member. Wearing my Navy seal, I was approached several times throughout the day, by extended hands thanking me for my service. That, I have to tell you is something you never get tired of.
I wore my ship's ball cap to the outing and while looking at wood crafts for sale at the Freemason's Cultural Center, an elderly Brother asked me what the "DDG" on my cap stood for. When I told him, "Guided Missile Destroyer," he said to me, "You were a long time after me." and then showed me his old and weathered cap for the ship he served on. I immediately stuck out my hand and said, "Thank You for your Service, Shipmate." It took him a minute to rise up from the chair to shake my hand, but if you could have seen the pride and gratitude in his eyes, for being recognized that way, it would have stole your heart, much like it did mine.
I don't think I have to remind anyone of how proud I am of having been allowed the privilege to serve our country, or to be a member of our beloved Fraternity. I am prouder today to see our Veteran Masonic Brethren forever remembered by that Eternal Flame.

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