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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Patriotic Celebration of Veteran's Day

On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month we remember all of our nation's veterans.  Their sacrifice for this nation is what has made our nation what it is today.  This evening, the events of remembering our veterans concluded with the Council of Kadosh of the Des Moines Valley paying tribute to our nation's veterans by performing select parts of the Valley's former 30th Degree for the public.

Preceded with an excellent dinner prepared by the Valley's Kitchen Krew.  Never to be outdone, the Kitchen Krew prepared a succulent Yankee Pot Roast, with a side Valley Forge Vegetable Medley, Paul Revere Sour Dough Bread, and a choice of either George Washington Cherry Pie or Betsy Ross Apple Pie for desert.  Drinks included Boston Harbor Iced Tea, and an excellent selection of brews by Sam Adams.

The program opened with remarks by Bro. Bill Clark, Jr., 33°
The degree continued with Bro. Mike Hansen, 33 presenting the various flags that have flown over out nation. Dressed in his formal Naval Officer's uniform from his time in the service, Bro. Hansen opened with:
"From earliest times, tribes or groups of men adopted banners or standards to symbolize their unity or principles for which they stood. Flags and their history make a fascinating study out of which one can find a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure. It is but natural that our new nation should adopt for their symbol a flag, which has been changed from time to time, the development of which is illustrated by this series of flags now before you and which I will briefly explain to you.
This series of flags illustrated the development of our American emblem from the beginning to the present time."

He concluded with:
"Behold the emblem of our Country, the Greatest Flag of the Greatest Nation of the world! May it ever wave over a free and liberty loving people. May it ever represent the highest ideals of American manhood, the loftiest standards of our exalted womanhood, the purest principles of social democracy. May its generous fold blessed by Almighty God and glorified by the blood of our forefathers, ever aid and support, at home and abroad, on land and on sea, suffering mankind, struggling for human right, human freedom, human advancement and education."

Next, Bro. John Clearman, 33° gave a brief lecture on the values that all true patriots hold dear, and how Masonry supports each one of them, "If Masonry cannot prevent tyranny, superstition or ignorance from precipitating war between nations, or within the bosom of a nation, it will at least endeavor to mitigate the horrors and prevent the worst atrocities of that war. If it cannot prevent the crimes which disgrace humanity, it will at least denounce those who commit them and make their names infamous throughout all the world.".

Bro. Bryce Hildreth, 33° then gave a lecture on our own mortality, "We all enter life in one manner and before death, rank and privileges disappear.".

Bro. D. Kay Greany, 33° gave a moving Ode to the Flag.  "TO THEE, Flag or our Country, we pay homage of a free people; emblem of our liberty, prophetic of the future happiness of millions of God's children."

The program concluded with Bro. Greg Van Vark, 32° KCCH giving the School House Lecture.  This lecture is most moving, speaking of Freemasonry "punching holes in the dark". 

"“I have struggled for freedom of religion, human advancement and education. I have fought untiring warfare against two miscreants of mankind, political and spiritual despotism. I was with Washington when he founded and endowed the first free public school in Alexandria, Virginia. Over no institution does the American Flag more appropriately float than over the free public schoolhouse. It is not put there for decorative purposes. The inner meaning of its presence in the schoolroom becomes apparent when we remember that in every city, village, and countryside, millions of boys and girls face toward the flag and salute it with these significant words:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”"

The Double Eagle Chorus, directed by Bro. Ron Lindhart, 33°; and Organist Bro. Bob Speed, 33° provided great musical accompaniments to the evening, including such patriotic songs as our National Anthem, America the Beautiful, and God Bless America.

Master of Kadosh, Bro. Mark Clark, 33° closed the evening, reminding us of the greatness of our nation,  and our duty as patriots to thank the veterans who have put everything on the line for us.

Respectfully submitted,
~Bro. Kurt Hoffmann, 32° for Bro. Jay Simser, 32°

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