By Den Ardinger 32° KCCH
“When man reaches new worlds, Masonry will be there!” – Buzz Aldrin during a 1969 interview with The New Age magazine
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, ScD, best known as the second man to ever walk on the surface of the Moon, was born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. in Glen Ridge, New Jersey on January 30, 1930. He was the son of Edwin Eugene Aldrin Sr. and Marion Moon Aldrin of Montclair, NJ. He had two older sisters: Madeleine who was four years older and Fay Ann who was a year and a half older.
“Buzz”, which became his legal name in 1988, was born into an aviation family. His father was an aviator in World War I and the assistant commandant of the Army’s test pilot school in Ohio from 1919 to 1922 before becoming an executive with Standard Oil. Buzz was always a high achiever and an A student. In 1947, he entered West Point and when he graduated in the top group of his class in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, he chose to serve in the newly formed United States Air Force.
In the Air Force, while flying F-86 Sabre Jets in combat in Korea in 1953, he shot down two enemy Mig-15s. After the war he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology through the Air Force Institute of Technology program and completed his Sc.D. degree in astronautics.
Buzz was selected by NASA into the astronaut program in 1963. He was the first astronaut with a doctorate degree. As an astronaut, he flew on the Gemini 12 mission and then on Apollo 11, as the Lunar Module Pilot which was the first mission to land on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. Buzz, along with Neil Armstrong, were the first humans to set foot on the surface during the manned space program.
Buzz was a Master Mason. He was initiated into Freemasonry at Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Montgomery, Alabama on February 17, 1955. He was passed to the Fellowcraft degree on April 12, 1955 and raised as a Master Mason at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Denver, Colorado on February 21, 1956. He is a member of the York Rite and Arabia Shrine Temple of Houston.
Buzz was a Presbyterian Elder and the first to ever hold a religious service on the Moon. As a Freemason, he was the first to take a Scottish Rite Masonic flag to the Moon also. Aldrin was a member of Clear Lake Lodge #1417 in Texas when he stepped onto the surface of the Moon.
Aldrin retired from the USAF as a Colonel in 1972 as the space program began to draw down. He later suffered from depression and alcoholism after leaving NASA. He remained active, however, and in 1998 traveled to the North Pole and in 2016, at the age of 86, became the oldest person to reach the South Pole.
His list of medals and honors is legendary. They include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, induction into the International Space Hall of Fame, the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame, National Aviation Hall of Fame and the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s Langley Gold Medal for aviation, Congressional Gold Medal, the Collier Trophy, Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, Harmon Trophy and many other aviation honors. He has been awarded honorary degrees from six different universities. In 2019 he was awarded the Starmus Festival’s Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication for Lifetime Achievement.
Brother Buzz Aldrin, More than a man…a Mason.
Masonic Flag taken to the Moon by Astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 1969
On display at the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C.