July, American History and Freemasonry
When I think about July, I think about American history in the context of Freemasonry. I am a Mason and the connection between the Craft and important American historical events simply captures my attention and enthusiasm.
The battle of Gettysburg took place at the beginning of July. I always gravitate to the story of Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock who fought there. They were Masons, best friends and Federal soldiers stationed together in Los Angeles before the Civil War. Armistead left Los Angeles and his friend Hancock in order to fight for the South. Hancock remained with the Federal Army and fought for the North. Armistead always hoped never to face his friend on the field of battle. But they came together at the battle of Gettysburg. Armistead, who came across the field during Pickett’s Charge (George Pickett was also a Mason), when mortally wounded, still asked about his friend. When Armistead died, the story goes, his body was carefully tended until burial by other Masons. But he and Hancock never saw each other there.
Independence Day is also a highlight of July and for me as meaningful Masonically as Gettysburg. Many important figures celebrated on the Fourth of July were Masons, my own heroes — George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere and others — among them.
When I think of the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness celebrated in July along with Freedom and Independence, I know that these concepts were enlightened by Masonic values brought forth, among others, by Masons of stature and fidelity.
A memorable July to all.
Sincerely and fraternally,