SHORT TALK BULLETIN - Vol.X May, 1932 No.5
DEDICATING THE WASHINGTON MASONIC MEMORIAL
Freemasonry is the only Fraternal Order for which the United States
George Washington Bicentennial Commission has set aside a whole week
for participation in the celebration of the two hundredth anniversary
of the birth of the First President.
The week of May 7th to 14th inclusive will go down in Masonic history
as the most impressive of all periods of Masonic celebration. The
peak of the National Observance will be reached on May 12th, when the
great George Washington National Memorial in Alexandria will be
dedicated to Masonic use buy the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
Every Freemason in the country is concerned, as every Grand
Jurisdiction has contributed to the erection of this, the mightiest
memorial ever erected by any man, by any order, people or nation.
Begun twenty years ago with the simple idea of providing a fireproof
repository for the priceless relics of Washington, the Freemason, in
the possession of Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, before long the
plans changed, and the project was for a monument to George
Washington the Mason, as well as for a fireproof structure to keep
safe forever those objects which Mason and profane like hold in
veneration. As time passed on and interest grew, the plans were
again enlarged, so that the huge building which now towers four
hundred feet above the surrounding country might be not only a
Memorial to the man and the Mason, but a monument to Freemasonry.
To this great undertaking the Grand Lodges of the United States
pledged the Craft. As their representatives in the Memorial
Association brought home reports of the progress of the work and the
enlargement of the plans, the Craft enthusiastically backed up these
The great structure is now much more than either monument or
memorial. It is the living embodiment of the faith and patriotism
and practice of Freemasonry; it is a demonstration both to the world
at large and the world of the Craft, that fifty Grand Jurisdictions
can labor unitedly to a common end. East, and West, North and South,
have engaged in friendly rivalry to see which would soonest complete
its per capita contributions.
Written into the constitution of the association is the proviso that
no contract for any work may be made until money to pay for it is
actually in the treasury - hence this imposing pile of imperishable
granite, its decorations, its lighting, its heating, the thirty-six
acres of land on which it stands and its landscaping, are all paid
for. Not a dollar of mortgage or indebtedness of any kind stands
against this shrine of the ancient Craft.
The exterior of the building is completed; the beacon light on top
shines every night; the permanent roadway from King Street is
finished; heating, ventilating, electrical wiring, lobbies and
adjacent stairways and the auditorium are finished. But, much
remains to be done inside and furnishings have yet to be bought and
placed. It is not a complete and perfect whole which will be
dedicated and consecrated to Masonic use on May 12th; the task is not
yet finished. But the end is in sight. The last dollar of the four
million required will be speedily raised, following the demonstration
to the two hundred thousand Masons expected at the dedicatory
exercises, of the magnificence of the structure and the sacredness of
the trust to finish it immediately and completely,
The influence of this monument cannot be estimated.
Unlike many memorials, this will serve many practical purposes as
well as those altruistic and patriotic. Lodges will meet in it.
Ceremonial of all proper Masonic character will be held in it - have
been held in it. Masonic bodies will travel long distances to
perform some ritualistic observance within its portals. The nucleus
of a magnificent Masonic Library is already in hand. Masonic leaders
with vision of the future see the Memorial as a great center of
Masonic learning; they envision it as a central source of Masonic
light and knowledge, as well as shrine, a meeting place, a monument
and a Memorial.
It belongs to American Freemasonry; to every Craftsman of every
lodge. On page 11 is a table showing (as of December, 1931), the
contributions of the forty-nine Jurisdictions, and the relative
standing of the several States. These figures are taken from the
Masonic Reviews of J. Edward Allen, noted Masonic statistician, and
Fraternal Correspondent of North Carolina.
Plans for the dedication program contemplate a parade which will
being at 9:30 o’clock on the morning of May 12th, the ceremony of
dedication to follow immediately after the parade has been dismissed.
The dedication program will include an invocation by Bishop W.
Betrand Stevens, of Los Angeles, a short address by the President of
the Memorial Association, Past Grand Master Louis A. Watres, (Penn.)
a special ceremony prepared for the occasion by the Grand Lodge of
Virginia, an address by Past Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson, of
Massachusetts, the principal speaker, and a benediction by Reverend
Brother William J. Morton of Alexandria, Chaplain of the association.
Two Masonic Glee Clubs will sing.
The President of the United States will arrive at one o’clock for the
dedication exercises. He will be saluted with twenty-one guns from
an Army Battery, and as the first gun is fired, the salute will be
taken up by five Naval Vessels which will at that time in the harbor
The Secretary of the Navy has ordered the Frigate Constitution, "Old
Ironsides, " to Alexandria for all of "Masonic Week. "
An unusually complete outfit of loud speakers is being installed, so
that, no matter how great the assemblage before the platform on which
the dedication exercises take place, all may hear in comfort. The
ceremonies will be broadcast over both the great national hook-ups.
The parade will be both large and colorful. Many large delegations
from Grand Lodges from all over the country will participate, and
uniformed bodies of the Templars, Shrine and Grotto will take part.
Many Masonic bands and the Army, Navy and Marine Bands will be in
line, and forty-nine Grand Masters will first lead, then review the
The dedicatory exercises will be conducted by the Grand Lodge of
Virginia, but all the Grand Masters will participate. The special
ceremony arranged for this occasion includes individual responses
from the Grand Masters of the thirteen original States of the Union,
and the District of Columbia, and group responses from other Grand
The gavel used at the laying of the corner stone of the United States
Capitol will be in the hands of the Most worshipful Grand Master of
Virginia. The Bible from Fredricksburg Lodge, on which Washington
was obligated as an Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master
Masons, will be present on this historic occasion, as will the Bible
from St. John’s Lodge, of New York City, on which Washington took the
oath of office when he became the first President of the united
States. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts will bring to the
dedication its famous urn, in which is a lock of Washington’s hair.
This urn, the handiwork of M.W. Paul Revere, is the most precious
possession of the Grand Lodge of the Bay State, and is handed from
Grand Master to Grand Master at the St. John’s Day Communication.
The center of "Masonic Week, " the very climax to the nation-wide
celebration of the Bicentennial, this dedication of the Memorial
carries in its train many other Masonic observances of noteworthy
importance. These are, in brief:
May 7 Saturday, (7:30 P.M.) - Special Communication, Harmony Lodge,
No. 17, F.A.A.M. Lodge Room No. 1, Masonic Temple, 13th and New York,
Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. Entered Apprentice Degree.
May 8 Sunday, (9:30 A.M.) - Religious services, Kallipolis Grotto,
M.O.V.P.E.R., Sylvan Theatre, Monument Grounds, Washington.
May 9 Monday, (10 A.M.) - Annual meeting of the Masonic Service
Association of the united States, Raleigh Hotel, Washington.
May 9 Monday, (3 P.M.) - Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of
Texas, in the Memorial at Alexandria, Va.
May 9 Monday, (6 P.M.) - Annual Conference of the Grand Secretaries
of the United States, Raleigh Hotel, Washington.
May 9 Monday, (7 P.M.) - Annual conclave of the Grand Commandry of
Knights Templar of the District of Columbia, Masonic Temple,
May 10 Tuesday, (9:30) A.M.) - Annual Conference of Grand
Masters of the United States, Willard Hotel, Washington, Dinner in
May 10 Tuesday, (8 P.M.) - Thirty-Second Degree, A.A.S.R.
Scottish Rite Cathedral, 433 Third Street, N.W. Washington.
May 11 Wednesday, (9 A.M.) - Annual Convention of the George
Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, in Memorial at
May 11 Wednesday, (1 P.M.) - Special Communication of King
Solomon’s Lodge, No. 31, F.A.A.M., Masonic Temple, Washington, Master
May 11 Wednesday, (7:30 P.M.) - Special Communication of the
Grand Lodge of Missouri, in the Memorial at Alexandria.
May 11 Wednesday, (7 P.M.) - Semi-Annual Communication of the
Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, Masonic Temple, Washington.
May 12 Thursday, (9:30 A.M.) - Dedication of the George
Washington Masonic National Memorial at Alexandria. Parade -
Dedication immediately following parade.
May 12 Thursday, (7:30 P.M.) Stated Communication of Alexandria-
Washington Lodge, No.22, in the Memorial at Alexandria.
May 12 Thursday, (8 P.<.) - Stated Communication of Temple-Noyes
Lodge, No.32, F.A.A.M., Masonic Temple, Washington, Fellowcraft
May 12 Thursday, (9 P.M.) - Reception and Ball, Willard Hotel,
under Auspices of Circle Club, Washington.
May 13 Friday, - Annual Conclave of the Grand Commandery Knights
Templar of Virginia, in the Memorial at Alexandria.
May 13 Friday, (10 A.M.) - Meeting of the Masonic Librarians and
Students of the United States, in the Memorial at Alexandria.
May 13 Friday, (8 P.M.) - Grand Chapter O.E.S., District of
Columbia, Pageant, "Washington’s Vision of a Triumphant Nation, "
May 13 Friday, (7:30 P.M.) - Banquet, National League of Masonic
Clubs, Willard Hotel, Washington.
May 11-14 - Annual Meeting of the National League of Masonic Clubs,
in Washington. Saturday morning session in Memorial at Alexandria.
May 14 Saturday, (all day) - Special Convocation of Mt. Vernon
Chapter, No.3, R.A.M., of Washington, in Memorial at Alexandria,
Royal Arch Degree.
While Commanderies, Royal Arch Chapters, Eastern Star Chapters,
Masonic Clubs, Librarians and Students, etc., all have a part in this
week of Masonic celebration, the dedication of the Memorial is
strictly and exclusively an Ancient Craft observance, except for the
participation in the parade by allied Masonic Bodies. Planning for
this celebration last year, the Memorial Association decided that
while certain assistance from allied Masonic bodies would be gladly
welcomed, the ceremonies should be wholly in the hands of the
Freemasons of the United States who have erected the building, just
as the dedication should be wholly in the hands of the Grand Lodge of
Virginia, in which Jurisdiction the mighty Memorial is erected.
Alexandria is but six miles by road or rail from the Nation’s
Capital. Alexandria is a small city, and will be taxed to its
capacity during this week. The majority of delegates and visitors
will live in Washington during that week; some will use their
railroad cars as sleeping quarters.
Transportation between the two cities is by bus, automobile, railroad
and boat. The United States Government has just completed and opened
to traffic the magnificent Memorial Highway, passing through
Alexandria. The Washington end of this boulevard begins at the
Memorial Bridge, due West of the Lincoln Memorial.
Because of the enormous number of visitors expected, automobiles and
buses will be barred from Alexandria after 9 o’clock in the morning
of May 12th. Twenty-five to fifty thousand automobiles, all trying
to reach Alexandria at the same time, would jam even the new Memorial
Boulevard, and there is no place in Alexandria to park so many cars,
even if they could all arrive safely at the same time. Visitors to
Alexandria on May 12th should plan to go from Washington by
railroad; steam trains will leave all day long at five minute
intervals. The railroad authorities promise ample accommodations, no
matter how large the crowd.
The dedication of the greatest Memorial ever erected to mortal man
will write important Masonic history. All Masons who can make the
trip will be present; for those who cannot participate in the flesh,
the radio offers an opportunity to hear, and, thus. to be present in
spirit while the ancient Craft, with solemn ceremony and joyful
hearts, consecrates its wonderous Memorial to Washington the Mason,
and to Freemasonry.