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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes May 2006

Veterans History Project

The United State Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) in 2000 as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The mission of VHP is to collect and preserve the personal recollections of U.S. wartime veterans to honor their service and share their stories with current and future generations. The Project also collects stories from noncombatant wartime civilians who worked in support of our armed forces.

Collections may take the form of first-hand oral histories, interviews, memoirs, photographs, letters, diaries, maps, and other historical documents - really any historical documents that bring wartime experiences to life.

The Veterans History Project has launched a program to record the stories of veterans living in the nation’s retirement communities; this is called the Retirement Community Outreach Initiative (RCOI). To learn more about RCOI or how you can share your story or record the story of another veteran, please contact Jeffrey Lofton at [email protected] or 202-707-6432.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Freemasonry

Everyone has heard about the Freemasons—or, more formally, the Free and Accepted Masons—a fraternal society with about four million members, mainly in the U.S. and the English-speaking world. American Freemasonry is older than this country, and many of the Founding Fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and George Washington were Masons.

In The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry, expert author, S. Brent Morris, reveals the truths and dispels the myths that have surrounded the Freemasons for hundreds of years.

(ISBN 1–59257-490-4—$18.95—Available in bookstores)

Did You Know? What is the Tilers Oath?

Declaration of a visitor that he has been regularly initiated, passed and raised and does not stand suspended or expelled.

(Source: MSA Digest Pocket Masonic Dictionary)

Why Volunteer at a VA Hospital

Stewart W. Miner, PGM (VA) and PGS (DC), also volunteered for Sunday Chapel Escort Service at the Washington DC VAMC. Gert and Stew were faithful volunteers sharing their time with our Veterans. In an article about his experiences as a volunteer Stew said:

The most difficult part of voluntary service at the VAMC does not involve what you are asked to do or how often you are asked to do it. That comes naturally and really without effort. People are people the world around, and sooner or later, no matter how much you try to be impersonal in the performance of your job, you do become emotionally involved with the people you meet. And while your wards may be a different color, of the opposite sex, or from a different strata of society, sooner or later you start to regard some, if not all of them, as “family.” They look to you on Sunday morning, and you, instinctively, look for them – those special people with whom you choose to spend the morning.

I am sure that you are asking yourselves, “why is this so difficult?” After all, are we not doing what any normal person would do in like circumstances? Of course we are. But as we go about our duties, we develop strong ties to our hospital-bound friends, and it wrenches our hearts when we watch the decline of these men and women, from week to week, as they courageously battle the ravages of disease and age. But for those who reside in the nursing home there is usually no recourse except death and the cemetery. In such circumstances we try to make their lives a little more pleasant than they might otherwise be. To this point I would say that our efforts are important, for by and large, many of the patient’s families pay them little heed. - Stewart Wilson Miner

Shriners Help Tsunami Victims

When the Indian Ocean tsunami crashed ashore on December 26, 2004, many things were lost. Homes were swept away, belongings gone forever. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives in the disaster. And many of those who survived, including children, literally lost a part of themselves.

Seven-year-old Tara Aulia and 11-year-old Hamdani survived the tsunami that ripped through their villages in Indonesia’s Aceh province, but along with their homes and family members, both children lost a limb.

The tsunami damaged the only rehabilitation hospital in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, and took the life of the doctor qualified to provide artificial limbs.

Despite the horrors Tara and Hamdani experienced and the steep odds they faced at obtaining proper medical care, they had reason to celebrate less than a year later. Both children were given a new start and new prosthetics at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Philadelphia.

Before their return to Indonesia at the end of August, the children were excited to show off their new prostheses – which were made so that they can grow into them – to their friends, family and village. Tara and Hamdani will return to the Unites States for follow-up care and evaluation in about a year, and Shriners Hospitals will provide the necessary attention until the children turn 18.

(Source: Shrine News Release)

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