From the East
Although we did not have a Stated Communication in July, we did conduct a Fellow Craft degree for one Brother and celebrated service awards for:
Bro Richard Bohart (50-year Veteran’s Service Award)
Bro. Ralph Lee (50-year Veteran’s Service Award)
Bro. Robert Lloyd (50-year Veteran’s Service Award)
Bro. Paul Parker (50-year Veteran’s Service Award)
Bro. Arnold Wilson (70-year Service Award)
Congratulations to those brothers for their long-standing commitment to our lodge and the fraternity.
This Month in Freemasonry – “Dedication of the Friend to Friend Monument at Gettysburg”,
by WM Nick Voelker
Please join us at our next Stated Communication on Thursday August 11th, dinner at 6:30 and the lodge opens at 7:30. If you need transportation assistance, please contact Secretary Mike Hamrick.
On August 21, 1993, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania dedicated the “Friend to Friend Monument” in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, not far from where it is believed President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The monument commemorates brotherly love and friendship between Masons on opposite sides of the American Civil War. The monument and its dedication took over 10 years of planning, fundraising, and obtaining approval from Congress, the National Parks Service, and the National Historical Society by members of Good Samaritan Lodge #336 in Gettysburg.
Union General Bro. Winfield Scott Hancock (Charity Lodge #190 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) and Confederate General Bro. Lewis Addison Armistead (Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22 in Alexandria, Virginia) were close friends before the Civil War. Although they served and fought side by side in the United States army prior to the Civil War, Bro. Armistead refused to fight against his fellow Southerners and joined the Confederate Army in 1861. Bros. Hancock and Armistead fought heroically in the 27
months leading up to Gettysburg and finally faced off during Pickett’s Charge, beginning around 4pm EST on July 3, 1863. During Pickett’s Charge, roughly 12,500 Confederate soldiers advanced uphill under heavy Union artillery over a 3⁄4 mile open field towards Cemetery Ridge, which resulted in a 50% Confederate casualty rate. (I was honored to take this walk with about 3,000 others on July 3, 2013, starting at 4pm EST – exactly 150 years when the Confederate Infantry came out of the woods behind Seminary Ridge and began this famous charge, which lasted roughly 45 minutes). Bro. Armistead gallantly led his brigade from the front (see depiction) and assaulted Bro. Hancock’s II Corps on Cemetery Ridge, eventually penetrating the line but later turned back by a Union infantry counterattack at what is now known as the “high water mark of the Confederacy.” Bro. Armistead was mortally wounded shortly after crossing the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge (see in the picture ) near the high-water mark and died in a Union hospital at Spangler’s Farm in Gettysburg two days later. Bro. Hancock was also wounded during Pickett’s Charge but survived the war and was narrowly defeated for President in 1880 by James Garfield.
Depicted on the right is the place on Cemetery Ride where Bro. Armistead was mor-
tally wounded by a Union counterattack during Pickett’s Charge. The trees in the far off distance behind the monument is where Pickett’s Confederate Charge began.
Depicted in the Friend to Friend Monument sculpture is the story of Union Captain Bro. Henry Bingham (Chartiers Lodge #297 in Canonsburg, PA), staff assistant to Bro. Hancock, who himself was mildly wounded during Pickett’s Charge, rendering aid to the mortally wounded Bro. Armistead. Bro. Armistead is shown handing his watch and personal effects to Bro. Bingham which he told him to give to his friend, Bro. Hancock.
This story epitomizes some of the most time-honored virtues of Freemasonry and highlights the unique bonds of friendship and brotherly love, which enabled these men to remain brothers undivided. Even as they fought in a divided nation, they faithfully supported their respective governments under which they fought while being willing to help each other to the extent their brothers’ necessities required in their time of need without injury to themselves.
Nick Voelker – Master
From the Secretary
We have been really busy this year, and will see at least two degrees in the coming months…and our activities continue with a Lecture Service. This Lecture Service is in essence a School of Instruction for an individual Lodge, and an opportunity for us to refine our degree and ritual work. There will be time for fellowship as well, so if you are available, we would love to see you on Sat, Aug 6. And with both a Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degree on the horizon (not yet scheduled), our calendar will certainly continue to be quite active, and we will continue to meet on Thursday evenings at 7pm in order to prepare for these upcoming degrees.
Mike Hamrick, PM