Volume LVIIMay 2010Number 2

Help For Our Heroes

Pennsylvania Masons Care
In addition to providing pre-paid calling cards for troops serving overseas in the desert, we will support seriously injured troops as they recuperate in the hospital and return home.
Show your support by donating at each lodge meeting and function. Remember to give the community an opportunity to participate during special events!



Supporting Our Troops Where They Need it Most

Pennsylvania Freemasons continue their strong support of our military under the direction of R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon through a new program title, "Help for Our Heroes." While donations will continue to provide pre-paid calling cards to Pennsylvania military units as they deploy to war zones or upon request by those already deployed, Help for Our Heroes will also focus on providing calling cards and other essential needs to hospitalized military men and women.

THE NEED IS GREAT.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, through your generous donations, is sending 100 calling cards each month to injured troops recovering at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, because casualty rates continue to rise. Calling cards also have been sent to Bagram's SSG Heath N. Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Afghanistan for troops receiving medical care there.

Col. and Bro. Harris Brooks, Brotherhood Lodge No. 126, Philadelphia, has meetings scheduled with representatives from stateside military hospitals in Washington, D.C., and VA Hospitals in Pennsylvania to ascertain what their special needs are for patients, whether it be clothing, upgrades for patient rooms, etc. Funds contributed to Help for Our Heroes will go toward meeting those needs as well.

Grand Master Sturgeon's dedication to our military was represented through the "Missing Men Table & Honors Ceremony" that Col. and Bro. Harris Brooks led at the beginning of the Annual Grand Communication banquet.

The moving ceremony, full of symbolism, honors our Prisoners of War, those Missing in Action and Killed in Action. It can be modified to suit local requirements and occasions. At the Annual Grand Communication banquet, the ceremony was conducted in the following fashion:

  • A table is set for one, an empty place setting representing service men and women who are unable to be in attendance.
  • The chair is empty as a reminder of his absence, but saved for his hoped return. While attendees remain standing for a moment of silent prayer, the Honor Guard places six caps, to represent the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and a civilian, on the table.
  • The table is round, to show our everlasting concern for these missing men and women.
  • A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
  • A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
  • The glass is inverted, to symbolize his inability to share this evening's toast.
  • The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.
  • The vase is tied with a ribbon, a symbol of our unyielding determination to account for our comrades who are not among us tonight.
  • The candle is the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation. It is lit to remember that America will always be the light in a world of darkness.
  • The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
  • The American flag reminds us that many of them may never return, and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom.

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