Monday, January 4, 2010

‘2010 at the George Washington Masonic Memorial’

At the meeting on Tuesday night of Northern New Jersey Chapter of Rose Croix, John S. Ryan, 33°, a member of the Board of Directors of the George Washington Masonic Memorial, will discuss the latest news from the Memorial, which celebrates its centennial next month.

Like the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library (see below), 2010 evidently is a year to bring a few new ideas to fruition. The following is a statement from Executive Director George Seghers:

On February 22, 1910, George Washington’s 178th birthday, Masonic leaders from across the nation met in Alexandria, Virginia and formed an association for the purpose of building a great memorial to honor America’s foremost Freemason. February 22, 2010, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, will be a day of great festivities. In honor of the occasion, the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, hosted by the Grand Lodge of Virginia, will be held in nearby Arlington. Delegates will attend the Association’s Annual Meeting and celebrate the 100th anniversary and Washington’s 278th birthday at the Memorial.

At the Annual Meeting, a new portrait of George Washington as a Freemason will be unveiled. Painted by local artist Christopher Erney, the portrait will be a new interpretation of Washington. Prints of the portrait will be available at the meeting. Complementing the portrait is a new video presenting George Washington as the inspiration for the founding of America and explores the creation of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association. Underwritten by the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, it will be available on DVD and as a download from the Memorial’s website for Masonic education.

The Memorial’s new logo to commemorate the occasion was also designed by Erney. Since its inception, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association has used as its logo the Washington family crest with a Masonic square, compasses and “G,” with the motto “In Memoriam Perpetuam.” For a new century of service, a new logo has been created, keeping the same elements, it enhances the Association’s Masonic identity. Artist Christopher Erney began his design by enlarging the Washington family crest, making it the focus of the seal, and recreating the Masonic symbols carved into the Memorial’s cornerstone, laid in 1923. The cornerstone was laid by then president Calvin Coolidge, and every U.S. Grand Master, using the same trowel as used by Washington at the U.S. Capitol.
The new design replaces the foliage that surrounded the crest with tools, emblems and symbols of Freemasonry. On either side of the crest are pillars representing Jachin and Boaz, which are topped with terrestrial and celestial globes representing Freemasonry’s universality. Acacia vines of remembrance encircle the pillars. Complementing the globes is the sun in its glory above and the crescent moon below. Connecting the two lesser lights as the crest’s border is a cable tow. At the right, pomegranates represent abundance; on the left a sheaf of wheat represents wealth. Within the wheat are five of six working tools. The sixth, the Square of the Master, is found resting upon Washington’s crest. The new logo is now the Association’s trestleboard to labor “In Memoriam Perpetuam.”
Following the Annual Meeting, the International Order of DeMolay will rededicate the colossal bronze statue of George Washington in Memorial Hall and reaffirm the role of DeMolay young men in Freemasonry. The statue was a gift to the Memorial from the DeMolay, and 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of its unveiling by President and Past Grand Master Harry S. Truman.
On display during the celebration will be the trowel and gavel used at the 1793 Cornerstone Laying of the United States Capitol by George Washington, and the 1752 Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 Bible upon which the young Washington took his Masonic obligations.The new White House Stones Exhibit will be inaugurated at the celebration. Each stone in the exhibit is marked by one of the Scots Masons who helped build the White House in the 1790s. The stones were discovered during the restoration of the White House during the Truman presidency. Truman had the stones labeled, and one was sent to each Grand Lodge and other Masonic organizations. The exhibit reassembles nearly 50 stones, and includes minute books from Lodge No. 8 of Edinburgh recording the stonemasons’ marks, noting those who had “gone to America.” A matching minute book of Federal Lodge No. 1 will show those Scots masons forming the first lodge in 1793 on White House grounds. The exhibit is supported by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, Valley of Washington, Orient of the District of Columbia, and by the Grand Lodge, F.A.A.M., of the District of Columbia.

The photo above shows the White House stone given to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which was on display in Philadelphia in 2007.

2010 is a unique celebration year for the Memorial Association. Together we are celebrating 100 years of dedication to Freemasonry’s greatest brother and honoring the countless brothers who built and sustain the Memorial. Equally important, 2010 marks a pledge of rededicated service, trusting in God that the century ahead will be filled with success and achievement. The Association shines as a bright light of Masonry as it fulfills its mission: “To inspire humanity through education to emulate and promote the virtues, character and vision of George Washington, the Man, the Mason and Father of our Country.”

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