As we move into June, we have celebrated one holiday steeped in patriotism (Memorial Day) and are moving towards another (Flag Day). The earliest reference to Flag Day appears in 1912 when a publication sites an event that took place in Hartford, CT on June 14, 1861, although that event does not appear to have persisted past that year. What we have come to know as Flag Day started with a schoolteacher in Waubeka, WI, Bernard J. Cigrand who held a ceremony named “Flag Birthday” on June 14, 1885.
The flag is an important symbol of our country, and as Masons, it should be doubly important to us. Throughout our Masonic Journey, we are reminded again and again in our rituals and ceremonies to be of good service to our country and its government. Albert Pike, himself, in Morals and Dogma, would touch on those subjects repeatedly. In his chapter on the Ninth Degree, Pike states:
“The true Mason identifies the honor of his country with his own. Nothing more conduces to the beauty and glory of one’s country than the preservation against all enemies of its civil and religious liberty. The world will never willingly let die the names of those patriots who in her different ages have received upon their own breasts the blows aimed by insolent enemies at the bosom of their country.”(Morals and Dogma, page 156)
Therefore, Pike intertwines and relates the honor of one’s country with one’s honor. As Masons, and more importantly as Scottish Rite Masons who have experience the Ninth Degree, he is calling upon us to see that we and our country are the same. We should be willing to defend the honor of our country. I think we can go one step further. If our honor and our country’s honor are intertwined, then we must realize that the actions we take in our day-today-lives can affect the honor of our country both positively and negatively.
We must keep the knowledge of that fact in our minds every day and strive not to cause anything in our lives that would personally bring dishonor upon ourselves and therefore our country. To do so is not always easy. Pike, again and again, in his writings and teachings states that following the path of honor and duty is difficult, but he does state that if we make honor a “steady beacon-light” we shall have the tools needed to guide our lives “over the stormy seas of time” (Morals and Dogma, page 219). If not for our sakes, then we must try to take the honorable paths in our lives for the sake of our country.
Therefore, my Brothers, take stock of your actions in your lives and do your best to rise to the challenge of being honorable. It is not only in your best interest but also in the best interest of your country.
Chris Durie, 32°
Knights of Saint Andrew