Wednesday, December 22, 2021

‘Restore a Founding Father’s foundation’


Nearly 200 miles northwest of Masonic Hall is the Town of Vestal, New York, in the vicinity of Binghamton, and home to St. Mark’s-Vestal Lodge 435. Our brethren there aim to raise $10,000 to make necessary repairs to the statue of Masonic George Washington that watches over the lodge’s section of Vestal Hills Memorial Park, a renowned cemetery that reached its ninetieth year in 2021.

In need, specifically, is a replacement foundation for the statue, the original stone plinth and its wide, stepped base having suffered substantially since its installation in 1937. Click here for media coverage that shows the damage.

Titled “Washington As a Freemason,” the monument renders our historic brother wearing an apron and wielding both trowel and gavel; a large bronze tablet gives the dates of his progress through the Craft degrees at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

While Washington always was revered in a younger America, the 1932 bicentenary of his birth was a massive cultural event that spanned that decade, encompassing everything from his likeness being added to the quarter-dollar to countless local commemorations such as, I surmise, this statue. (Grand Lodge acquired DeWint House in 1931, something in which my lodge played a part that I have to research one day.)

Of course this isn’t the optimal moment to request money for non-emergency contingencies, but the lodge uses GoFundMe to reach the ambitious goal. Perhaps you or your lodge or the lodge’s charity fund or other Masonic bodies could assist. Basically, thirty cents from each New York Mason would capitalize the project fully.

Not to distract from the point of this worthy cause, but it should be understood that statues of Washington (and plenty of others) that stand on public lands will be made extinct in our lifetime, and maybe even sooner than I suspect. Those monuments erected on private properties can survive, assuming they’re not attacked by mobs, and it is imperative they always be preserved and protected to demonstrate how Americans care about their heritage and their posterity. End of lecture.

Then Grand Master Bill Sardone leads a remembrance ceremony where also the initiative to rehabilitate the George Washington statue was announced, September 11, 2021. (Photos courtesy of St. Mark’s-Vestal Lodge 435.)

Maybe you could share the link to GoFundMe and the burden of reviving this statue can be shared by more than only the local Masons out there.

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