Monday, May 28, 2012

‘Freedom is a light’


Facing Independence Hall is George Washington, standing in one of only five public squares
planned in William Penn’s 1682 survey of Philadelphia.

“Freedom is a Light for which many men have died in darkness” is the main inscription
on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Square Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Today I’m just repeating a previous Memorial Day post, but with a different angle.

In everyday life, I think most people forget the meaning of patriotism, allowing that unifying virtue to be blended with what really is jingoism, or at best a “me too” moment, free of commitment or sacrifice.

As is often the case, the rituals of Scottish Rite Masonry help me make sense of such concepts. The Master of the Symbolic Lodge Degree (20º) in the A&ASR Southern Jurisdiction puts it succinctly:

“Patriotism, willing to sacrifice itself for the common good, even when neither thanks nor honor follow it; that asks not whether that which the country requires will or will not be popular, but does the right without regard to consequences. Let there be Light!”

As you know, this national holiday began as Decoration Day, the occasion to adorn the graves of the fallen of the U.S. Civil War. Decoration Day was established by General Order No. 11, issued by Gen. John Logan on May 5, 1868, who vowed: “If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.”

Again it is Scottish Rite that says it all. From the Chapter of Rose Croix: “So may the Light that never fails, the Love that never forgets, and the Life that never ends, illumine our world.”


1 comment:

E C Ballard ஃ said...

I love the sentiment and photos from my home town, even if you took certain geographic and directional liberties. The prose is worth it. Thanks.