It is my great privilege and honor to serve you as Grand Master for 2008-2009.
My theme for the next two years is two-fold. You'll notice the words on my medallion,
"Protecting Our Heritage for Future Generations." This is meaningful and important to me for a number of reasons. First, as a Mason, I believe that we owe it not only to our forefathers, but to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to pass along the values we stand for as members of the oldest and largest fraternity in the world. Secondly, as an American and a veteran, I understand and appreciate the sacrifice our military men and women make to keep our country safe from harm and to maintain our freedom. In the same manner, we must prepare Pennsylvania Freemasonry for future generations by reestablishing our ritualistic standards, increasing communication, rejuvenating our lodges and therefore, coming together in unanimity to strengthen our brotherhood.
My personal pride in the selfless and courageous work of our military is clearly displayed on my medallion. The five men in World War II era uniforms depict enlisted servicemen in each of the five branches of our military. The Marine is a depiction of my grandfather, John Gardner, circa 1910. The sailor is likened to my father, Harold R. Gardner. Representing the Coast Guard is Bro. Paul (Augie) Hirschel, a Past Master of Porter Lodge No. 284. The Airman portrays my youngest son, Bro. Peter Gardner, a 2nd Lieutenant U.S.A.F. currently serving in Omaha, Neb., a member of Porter Lodge No. 284. The soldier depicts my father-in-law, Bro. Anthony J. Lulias, Lodge No. 9. In the center is a Master Mason, resembling my oldest son, Brother John Stephen Gardner, a member of Porter Lodge No. 284 and the Worshipful Master of George Washington Lodge No. 143 for 2008. The American and Masonic flags crossed at the bottom symbolize the tie between Freemasonry, the founding of our country, and patriotism.
The medallion represents the guiding principles we abide by today... as Americans and Freemasons, we have
inherited a strong legacy which we are responsible to uphold, augment and impart to future generations. I feel
strongly that we must remember, honor and thank those who have given us the freedoms we have today, and that
it is our responsibility to ensure that the sacrifices they have and continue to make for our liberty are not in vain.
Similarly, if we fail to enable our Masonic heritage to thrive well into the future, then we have not fulfilled our duty
The logo you will see used throughout my term is a star formed by the word "Freemasonry." It is symbolic, and yet underneath it is a quote from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749-1832), a German writer whose words convey the precise message we all need to embrace: "What you have inherited from your forefathers, earn over again for yourselves, or it will not remain yours."
We must work to preserve, strengthen, grow and yes, re-earn our heritage the same way our military re-earns our
freedom. We cannot take it for granted, as the future truly is in our hands. What the future holds for Pennsylvania
Freemasonry is up to each and every one of us.
Are YOU willing to Earn it Again?
If so, I ask you to join me in efforts to improve communication, revitalize our lodges and continue to welcome
good men into our brotherhood. I will encourage all lodges to utilize an efficient and effective voice broadcasting
system to increase participation, and will offer a new tie, featuring the Earn it Again star, to first-line signers of
candidates' applications. I will invite all of our brethren across the state to take part in the passing of our Unity
Gavel throughout the Commonwealth, a reminder that our fraternity is more than 120,200 men strong... making a
commitment that together, we will work toward Protecting our Heritage for Future Generations.
Each time you leave a lodge meeting, you will see a container with an American flag graphic and the words
"Change for the Troops." Take time to remember our troops in harm's way by contributing your pocket change toward
the purchase of calling cards, so they know Pennsylvania Masons appreciate their willingness to Earn it Again.
And at the same time, devote yourself to the same challenge.
Sincerely and fraternally,
R.W. Grand Master