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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes July 2009

The Lost Symbol

         Dan Brown’s new novel, the long awaited sequel to the Da Vinci Code, is scheduled to be released on September 15, 2009. The Lost Symbol according to Brown’s US publisher Sonny Mehta is “a brilliant and compelling thriller” which was “well worth the wait.” Dan Brown has been quoted as saying “This novel has been a strange and wonderful journey”, and continued, “Weaving five years of research into the story’s 12-hour timeframe was an exhilarating challenge. Robert Langdon’s life clearly moves a lot faster than mine.”

It is customary for new books to have a pre-release known as Review Copies. However, when asking for a review copy the Masonic Information Center was advised no copies of the book will be available until the September 15th release. We do not have any idea of the plotline of the book and since it has been a very long time period between the release of the Da Vinci Code and what was then described as a forerunner of a later book to be set primarily in Washington, DC, no one knows how current that information may be.

As is the case with any long anticipated book rumors are abundant and the Lost Symbol is no exception. The most persistent rumor we hear is that the book will involve George Washington, quite possibly in a negative way. Wish we had more information to give our readers but the secrecy being kept on the contents of the book is one of the tightest ever seen in the book publishing industry.

Masonic Exhibit to Open at Mt. Vernon

         A singular moment in American Masonic history will occur in February 2011. For the first time, a major American museum will present an exhibition on Freemasonry and George Washington. A joint project of the George Washington Masonic Memorial and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the exhibition will open in Mount Vernon’s new museum and education center.

         The exhibition’s working title “A Deserving Brother: George Washington and Freemasonry” derives from Washington’s letter to King David’s Lodge in Providence, Rhode Island in 1790. He wrote, “…I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving Brother.” The title refers not only to Washington, but to all men who join the Craft seeking to be a “deserving Brother.”

         With more than one million visitors to Mount Vernon every year, this exhibition will be a golden opportunity for Freemasons to articulate their history and moral philosophy. The exhibition will open on President’s Day weekend 2011 and run through January 2012.

(Source: Mark Tabbert article – The Messenger – Number 1, 2009)

World War I Masonic Ambulance Corps

            Dating back to the earliest years of the American republic, there had been a strong aversion to what Thomas Jefferson called “entangling alliances,” and many politicians of the early 20th century were wary of getting enmeshed in other countries’ conflicts. But after sitting out the early years of World War I, the U.S. finally jumped into the fray by declaring war in the spring of 1917 and sending millions of “doughboys” to fight in Europe. In support of the war effort, California Freemasons organized the Masonic Ambulance Corps of California, which allowed civilian brothers to serve under the auspices of the American Red Cross. Their role, according to the government, was to “…collect the sick and wounded, to afford them temporary care and treatment and to transport them to the next hospital in the rear.”

            More than 80 Masons from California along with a few from other jurisdictions made their way to Europe and worked triage on the front lines of France. Their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way inspired Grand Master Francis Kessling to state, “The Masonic Ambulance Corps…are on their way to do their part, not as Masons but as citizens. Godspeed to them all and to those thousands who have gone into the service without ceremony.”

            One lodge that is said to have been instrumental in the creation of the corps was Bethlehem Lodge No. 453, which consolidated with Crocker Lodge No. 212 in 1961. In a twist of irony and fate, Past Master Adolphus Graupner, who served as a captain in the Argonne campaign, was one of the wounded soldiers picked up and saved by the very organization that his own lodge had helped to create.

            Most of the Yanks who served in Europe had no idea what to expect. Prior to being sent overseas, Brother Roy Loomer Davis, Sr., wrote “I went to the Masonic Club and learned that our uniforms had arrived…When I stepped out of the hotel and started down Market Street toward the ferry, I frankly admit that I felt very self-conscious. If I looked nearly so conspicuous as I felt, it must have been very amusing to passersby.”

            While a great deal of Masonic community involvement is centered on programs that serve communities where brothers live and work, the response by California Masons to these two great humanitarian crises a century ago reveals a greater truth about how members of the craft see their role in the world. Freemasonry’s tenets of brotherly love and relief drive members’ good deeds – for fraternal and non-fraternal neighbors, in times of crisis and every day in between.

(Source: The California Freemason – Apr/May 2009)

GEORGE M. COHAN


I’m a Yankee Doodle dandy,

A Yankee Doodle do or die;

A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam’s

Born on the Fourth of July.

                                                                                                                Ibid. Yankee Doodle Dandy

No one has ever said it better. Hope you enjoyed the 4th!

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