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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes November 2007

Please Support the Green Envelope Appeal!

         1919 was the year in which the Grand Lodges of the United States formed the Masonic Service Association to be their contact point with our troops serving in the Armed Forces. This was done in World War II through the use of Masonic Service Centers—similar to USO’s—where a little bit of home away from home was available, primarily through Masonic locations, in various cities around the country.

         After World War II, because there was such a huge number of wounded Veterans in that conflict, MSA concentrated on visiting our Veterans in VA Hospitals, State Veterans Homes, and Military Hospitals across the United States. We continue doing so to this day.

         We are seeing Veterans in VA locations from all of the wars since World War II. We are also seeing young soldiers and Marines who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan, many of whom are suffering loss of limbs because this war, unlike previous wars, has roadside bombs as a major point of attack. These kinds of deadly explosives cause devastating wounds requiring long periods of recovery. In spite of these terrible wounds the most often heard expression from our young soldiers and Marines is: I can’t wait to get back to my unit.

         The Veterans from previous conflicts also deserve our support because when our nation called they were there, now it is our turn to say thanks for the service they rendered. Thanks for your consideration in supporting our Hospital Visitation Program.

It is not possible for every Mason to be a Visitor in a VA Hospital
but it is possible for every Mason to support those who are!

Past Grand Master (Vermont)
Executive Secretary – Masonic Service Association

         If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau

Disability Awareness Words Matter

            Children with disabilities, like all children, will learn or absorb what they are taught and react to the way they are treated. Shriners Hospitals for Children works hard to build confidence and self-esteem in our kids, and to help them discover and pursue their dreams, despite their disabilities. In working with kids toward that goal, it’s important to remember how language can reflect a positive attitude.

            Words to avoid include “crippled” and “handicapped.” Instead of using these words, which can be considered painful, experts suggest using “disability” or the actual term involved, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.

            When speaking about people with disabilities, clear, direct words are most positively accepted. For example, say, “Johnny uses a wheelchair,” instead of, “Johnny is wheelchair-bound,” or “Johnny is confined to a wheelchair.” Wheelchairs allow mobility from place to place, which is the opposite of confining.

            Words and tone-of-voice can clearly indicate values, and using positive, affirmative words can make a big difference. Practice care when using value-laden words like courageous, inspiration, pity, suffer, tragic, tragedy, afflicted or victim.

            It is also important to use “people-first-language.” For example, saying, “Johnny is a child with a disability,” is preferred over saying “Johnny is a disabled child.” People with disabilities sometimes feel isolated from those without disabilities and left out of activities. People-first language is an attempt to encourage understanding that people with disabilities are people first, and to help alleviate fear and lessen isolation.

Conversation Starters

            Here are some ways to start a conversation with a person who has a disability: Say hello; introduce yourself; comment on the weather. Find something you might share an interest in – television, music, sports, anything. In short, begin the same way you would if there were no disability. Take a deep breath, look past the obvious difference, and find the person.

            When you speak to people with disabilities as people, you will find yourself in a conversation with someone who has had different experiences, and the exchange of views could be very enriching for both of you.

            If you are interested in finding out more about the person’s disability, understand that everyone with a disability reacts to this differently and, like most subjects, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways – and times and places – to ask such questions.

            Try using words that reflect acceptance and indicate that a person is not defined by their disability – a message that is especially imperative to convey to children with disabilities.

(Source: Shrine News Release)




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