The Grand Master Speaks
Veterans! I think about veterans often, probably even more after our recent visit to the Veterans Administration Medical Center. That's why, in the middle of Summer, I was thinking about the Fall. I was thinking about Veterans Day because I wanted to remind Lodge Officers across the Commonwealth to be sure to honor veterans again during their November Stated Meeting.
I got to thinking about Remembrance. Veterans Day was Armistice Day between World War I and World War II. In those days, Americans across the country were serious in remembrance, pausing for a moment of silence as bells rang at 11 a.m. that day, recalling the time of the signing of the Armistice.
During World War II, "Let's Remember Pearl Harbor" became a popular song, but it also was a rallying call. Patriotism abounded. Flags flew. When it was over, we remembered those valiant servicemen who "... shall not have died in vain ..." and honored those veterans who came home. That was the "big war." We remembered for a long time at least for a generation or so.
Since then, there have been the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. Each time, there was more to remember, more veterans to honor. and we did. For a time!
Two years ago, on September 11th, we were horrified when terrorists killed thousands, destroying the World Trade Center in New York City, damaging the Pentagon in Washington, and having a plane crashed into the woods of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Americans had something terrible to remember. I looked again at the cover of the November 2001 issue of The Pennsylvania Freemason. There, beside an American Flag were the words of "Our Prayer of Vigil" beseeching "Great God, we call upon You in remembrance of all that is happening in our Great Nation." Again, American flags flew everywhere to proclaim that we will remember! Are they still flying everywhere today?
This March, when the war in Iraq was launched and won quickly, we were asked again to display the American flag both on our buildings and as a pin on our clothing. Many of us did and some of us still do.