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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes May 2008

First Lady Launches Portait Program

  First Lady Laura Bush addressed students, faculty and distinguished guests at Washington Mill Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia on January 15 to officially launch Mount Vernon’s program to distribute portraits of George Washington to every school in America. The program was initiated last year to commemorate Washington’s 275th birthday. The George Washington Masonic Memorial has joined with Mount Vernon to support this worthy endeavor and announced its participation at the Annual Meeting last February in Portland, Oregon.

  During her remarks, Mrs. Bush told the students, “You can honor George Washington by following his good example of good citizenship. I hope that each one of you will be a leader, set a good example for others in your school and community, and, as President Washington reminds us, all it takes is one citizen who loves his country to change America for the better.”

  Sponsorship of a single portrait is $275, however, the larger the sponsorship, the lower the per portrait cost. Sponsors can participate in the school selection process and are encouraged to be involved in any ceremonies surrounding the placement of the portrait.

  With nearly 12,000 Masonic Lodges across this great nation, we are in a unique position to help make sure that George Washington will once again greet students in school, inspiring them to lead lives of virtue, character and vision.

  Visit the Memorial’s website for more information and to access a participation form at

(Source: George Washington Masonic Memorial Newsletter #1, 2008)

Richard Belzer Becomes a Freemason

  Perhaps best known as Det. John Munch, the character he portrays in Wolf Films/NBC Universal Television’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Richard Belzer became a Mason on April 21, 2008.

  Bro. Belzer became a member of Publicity Lodge #1000, along with 7 other Fellowcrafts. It was a long evening but as one of the brothers said “worth every minute of it.”

(Source: Publicity Lodge Notice)

The American Enlightenment - Franklin and Freemasonry

In an excellent article published in Volume XXXV – 2006 Transactions of the American Lodge of Research (New York City), Thomas W. Jackson, PGS (PA) wrote very movingly about Benjamin Franklin. In a very small extract from this article he said:

            “Even as Franklin cannot be separated from Freemasonry he cannot be separated from the Enlightenment. He unquestionably, was the most visible example of the Enlightenment in colonial America, as well as the most visible example of the American Enlightenment in Europe. It was his relationship with the Enlightenment, however, that created his exposure to the world outside of Freemasonry. His interest in science, and his natural curiosity alone might have given him this exposure, but his interest in public affairs and commitment to the plight of others placed him squarely in the mainstream of enlightened thought. This concern for others is revealed in the effort he put into scientific experimentation. Most were to the benefit of the people.

            He was a founder of the American Philosophical Society, participated in the founding of the Library Company of Philadelphia, the first free library in America, The College and Academy of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Hospital. He was involved in organizing the first fire company in North America and the first fire insurance company, and was even involved with the paving and cleaning the streets of Philadelphia. His interest in science led him to the invention of the bifocal, to experiments in electricity and to the invention of a more efficient stove.”

(Source: American Lodge of ‘Research – Transactions – 2006)

Voices From the Past

           During WW II the Masonic Service Association, in co-operation with numerous Grand Lodges, sponsored Masonic Service Centers similar to USO Centers. There, those serving in the military could find a “home away from home.” Here is the announcement for the opening of such a center in Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. Service Center

      The Masonic Temple authorities whole-heartedly gave the use of a great basement room to the Association, to turn into a Service Center. If this worked a small hardship on Lodges and Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star which were accustomed therein to hold “fourth degrees” and banquets, no protest has been heard. Toilets and wash rooms have been installed, also shower baths. Furniture and equipment are the best which can be provided. Almas Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. loaned two pool tables with complete equipment. A brother donated a piano.

     The Center was formally dedicated September 19, (1942) by Grand Master Noble D. Larner. Admiral Ernest J. King in graceful words accepted the services of the Center on behalf of the Navy, and Senator and Past Grand Master Harry Truman, (Missouri) did likewise for the Army.

(Source: MSA Archives)


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