Wearing the Emblems by Bro. Rob Morris

You wear the Square! but have you got
That thing the Square denotes?
Is there within your inmost soul
That principle which should control
Your actions, words, and thoughts?
The Square of Virtue, — is it there,
Oh, you that wear the Mason’s Square?

You wear the Compass! Do you keep
Within that circle due
That’s circumscribed by law divine,
Excluding hatred, envy, sin,
Including all that’s true?
The Moral Compass draws the line,
And lets no evil passions in!

You wear the Trowel! have you got
That mortar, old and pure,
Made on the recipe of God
Divulged within His ancient Word,
Indissoluble, sure?
And do you spread, ‘twixt man and man,
That precious mixture as you can?

You wear the Oriental G!
Ah, Brother, have a care!
He whose All-Seeing Eye surveys
Your inmost heart, with open gaze,
Knows well what thoughts are there!
Let no profane, irreverent word
Go up t’ insult th’ avenging God!

You wear the Cross! it signifies
The burdens Jesus bore,
Who, staggering, fell, and bleeding, rose,
And took to Golgotha the woes
The world had borne before!
The Cross, — oh, let it say, Forgive,
Father, forgive, to all that live!

Dear Brother! if you will display
These emblems of our Art,
Let the great morals that they teach
Be deeply graven, each for each,
Upon an honest heart!
Then they will tell, to God and man,
Freemasonry’s all-perfect plan!

SourceWearing the Emblems by Bro. Rob Morris

The First Cornerstone

The cornerstone was laid on Wednesday, September 18, 1793, during the first large public event staged in the federal city. Contemporary Masonic practice included the laying of an inscribed metal plate along with a cornerstone. Caleb Bentley, a Quaker clockmaker and silversmith who lived in Georgetown not far from Suter’s Fountain Inn, where the commissioners held their meetings, made the silver plate for the Capitol ceremony.

George Washington laying the cornerstone

The newspaper invitation announcing the cornerstone ceremony was directed to the Masonic fraternity:

The Capitol is in progression—the southeast is yet kept vacant that [the] cornerstone is to be laid with the assistance of the brotherhood [on] the 18th Inst. Those of the craft however dispersed are requested to join the work. The solemnity is expected to equal the occasion.

The ceremony proceedings were reported in an article in The Columbia Mirror and Alexandria Gazette, which remains the only known eyewitness account of the event. Activities began at 10:00 a.m. with the appearance of President Washington and his entourage on the south bank of the Potomac River. Crossing the river with the president was a company of volunteer artillery from Alexandria. The procession joined Masonic lodges from Maryland and Virginia, and all marched two abreast, “with music playing, drums beating, colors flying, and spectators rejoicing,” to the site of the Capitol about a mile and a half away. There the procession reformed and Washington, flanked by Joseph Clark (the Grand Master) and Dr. E. C. Dick (the master of the Virginia lodge), stood to the east of a “huge stone” while the others formed a circle west of it. Soon, the engraved plate was delivered and the inscription read:

This South East corner stone, of the Capitol of the United States of America in the City of Washington, was laid on the 18th day of September, in the thirteenth year of American Independence, in the first year of the second term of the Presidency of George Washington, whose virtues in the civil administration of his country have been as conspicuous and beneficial, as his Military valor and prudence have been useful in establishing her liberties, and in the year of Masonry 5793, by the Grand Lodge of Maryland, several lodges under its jurisdiction, and Lodge 22, from Alexandria, Virginia.

Thomas Johnson, David Stuart and Daniel Carroll, Commissioners
Joseph Clark, R. W. G. M.—P. T.
James Hoban and Stephan Hallate, Architects
Collen Williamson, M. Mason

The plate was handed to Washington, who stepped down into the foundation trench, laid the plate on the ground, and lowered the cornerstone onto it. With the president were Joseph Clark and three “worshipful masters” bearing the corn, wine, and oil used to consecrate the stone. Chanting accompanied Washington’s ascent from the trench. Clark gave a speech punctuated by numerous volleys from the artillery. Following the formal exercises, a 500 pound ox was barbequed and those in attendance “generally partook, with every abundance of other recreation.” By dark, the festivities had ended.

painting of this ceremony appears in the Cox Corridors of the House Wing of the U.S. Capitol Building.

In 1991, a search for the Capitol Cornerstone was conducted including use of a metal detector to locate the engraved plate—it was not found. The location may be under the south east corner of what is today National Statuary Hall.

Photo captioned below.

Architect of the Capitol George White and Senate Sergeant at Arms Martha Pope look on during search in 1991.

Today in Masonic History (09/15/2017)

Today in Masonic history William Howard Taft is born in 1857.

William Howard Taft was the 27th president of the United States and served as a Supreme Court Justice, the only person to date to hold both offices.

Prior to becoming president, Taft served in many roles including, Superior Court Judge, Solicitor General of the United States, Served on the U.S. Court of Appeals and Governor General of the Philippines. In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt appointed Taft to be Secretary of War. It is believed that Roosevelt appointed him to groom him to be his Presidential successor.

In 1908, riding Roosevelt’s wave of popularity, he easily was elected to the Presidency. During his one term as President, Taft focused on trust-busting, civil service reform, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, improving the postal service and passage of the Sixteenth Amendment.

Taft was a task-oriented individual and focused on whether something needed to be done and often paid little attention to the political ramifications. This caused a rift between him and his political allies and led to his defeat in a bid for a second term.

Taft was made a Mason on sight in Kilwining Lodge No. 356.

Source: Today in Masonic History

Appeal for Relief – Florida


SEPTEMBER 13, 2017


CONTACT:  SIMON R. LAPLACE, 301-476-7330


Hurricane Irma hit Florida with the “longest-lasting powerful hurricane or typhoon ever recorded, worldwide,” according to National Public Radio. More than 60% of the state was without power. Widespread flooding, depleted grocery shelves, and damage from high winds have made life miserable for many.

The Grand Lodge of Florida has requested this Disaster Appeal to care for the many brethren who live in Florida, and have been impacted by the storm. While the damage is still being assessed, the certainty of many months of recovery is expected.

Donations can be made online at www.msana.com. When remitting by check, please mark clearly that you wish the funds to go to the Florida Disaster Appeal.

Please forward any donations you feel appropriate to help our devastated Brothers and their families to MSA.  Please make checks payable to MSA Disaster Relief Fund and send to 3905 National Drive, STE 280, Burtonsville, MD 20866.

MSA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

#  #  #

Simon R. LaPlace, PGM, Executive Secretary

Masonic Service Association of North America

3905 National Drive, STE 280

Burtonsville, MD 20866


William McKinley: A True and Upright Mason

The Battle of Opequam took place in Virginia very near the end of the Civil War in Virginia-very shortly before the decisive Union victory at Gettysburg. The battle is more commonly referred to today as the last battle of Winchester. Winchester, Virginia, where this battle took place, was a hot-spot during the Civil War, and it was very well defended by the Confederate Army. Three major battles were fought there during the war. The Union Army won only the last one.

Shortly after the last battle of Winchester had been fought and won by the Union, a Union officer went with his friend, a surgeon, to a field where about 5,000 Confederate prisoners from the battle were being held under guard.

Very shortly after they passed the guard, the officer noticed his friend, the doctor, was talking to and shaking hands with some of the Confederate prisoners. He also noticed that the doctor was handing out money from a roll of bills he had in his pocket. It was a considerable sum of money the doctor was handing out, and he handed it all out before rejoining his friend.

The Union officer wasn’t sure what he’d seen. Curious, he asked the doctor about it after they left the camp.

“Did you know these men or ever see them before?”

“No,” replied the doctor, “I never saw them before.”

“But,” he persisted, “you gave them a lot of money, all you had about you. Do you ever expect to get it back?”

“Well,” said the doctor, “if they are able to pay me back, they will. But it makes no difference to me; they are Brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty.”

The Union officer decided at that moment to become a Freemason. He recalled thinking to himself, “If that is Freemasonry, I will take some of it for myself.”

That Union officer’s name was William McKinley. He would later become the 25th President of the United States. On May 3, 1865, a few months after visiting that camp with his friend, he became a Freemason at Hiram Lodge No. 21, in Winchester, Virginia.

If I stopped right here, I think I’ve told a pretty good story. It’s a story that tells us a lot about the character of one of the most virtuous men that ever sat in the office of President of the United States-a man who was moved to join Freemasonry after witnessing an act of kindness and charity.

But there is another side of this story-a side that reveals a great deal about the character of the institution that McKinley had resolved to join.

McKinley was true to his word. He took his degrees in Winchester just few weeks after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and just two weeks after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater. To say this was a tumultuous time in American history is an understatement. This was a period in our history when emotions ran high on both sides. Many in the North felt the South should be punished for the war and the death of Abraham Lincoln. Many in the South who felt General Lee shouldn’t have surrendered the Army rallied to raise the Confederate Army again. Most citizens on both sides of the conflict wondered if the wounds of the Civil War could ever be healed.

However, at the height of this turbulent time in our history, a group of Masons in Winchester, Virginia, put their differences aside, and together, North and South, put on the degrees. In fact, the Worshipful Master of Hiram Lodge No. 21 was a Confederate chaplain, and along with Masons that had served in both the Union and Confederate Armies, they performed the degrees. William McKinley was raised a Master Mason.

William McKinley is often overlooked by history-actually much of the reason for this oversight was his exemplary character. He was trusted. He listened much more than he spoke. He was willing to admit when he was wrong. But McKinley’s greatest character trait was his honesty and integrity. He twice turned down the nomination for President because he felt each time that the Republican Party had violated its own rules in nominating him. He squashed the nomination both times-something a politician today would probably view as an unthinkable act.

Politics at the turn of the last century is much as it is today-full of scandal, corruption, and greed. McKinley was pretty boring compared to many of his contemporaries. Never embroiled in a personal scandal or controversy, McKinley’s virtuous character hasn’t given historians and biographers much to comment on. And of course, it didn’t help McKinley’s memory that he was assassinated before his full vision for America could be realized. He accomplished some remarkable things, won the Spanish-American War, and began many more important projects and initiatives. Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley’s larger-than-life successor, often receives credit for completing many of the initiatives that William McKinley actually began.

William McKinley is a very good example of what a true and upright Mason should be.

Source: The Midnight Freemasons