Pictured above, Masons from Wisconsin waiting to start the parade. Deputy Grand Master David R. Ritchie, Junior Grand Warden Jeffrey S. Schoenfeldt, Senior Grand Warden Thomas W. Stevens, PGM L. Arby Humphrey and Senior Grand Deacon Joseph E. Thompson.
The city of Alexandria, Virginia lays across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. and is the hometown of George Washington. Brother Washington became a Mason in Fredericksburg, Virginia but after the Revolutionary War become a founding member of Alexandria Lodge # 22 and elected its first Master.
Our Grand Master, Paul T. Tourville, stopped to greet Brothers and make friends along the parade route – Proud to Be A Freemason!
President’s Day is a real holiday in Alexandria, a town proud of its history and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. This year’s parade was something special with over 5,000 Masons from around the World taking part in the celebration. The Masons played a special role because both the city and the memorial were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for the memorial.
The annual community based parade covered 2 miles and was lined with well-wishers. Starting in Oldtown and finishing at the foot of Shooter’s Hill the site of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. Following the parade, the Grand Lodge of Virginia reenacted the original cornerstone laying. The cornerstone which was placed in November of 1923 began with a parade of Masons up to the site and with over 5,000 Masons in attendance the stone was laid with great ceremony. The reenactment was done all from memory with no scripts. Local and Masonic dignitaries – including former Virginia Governor and fellow Masonic Brother James S. Gilmore (who was in office 1998-2002) – sat in the reviewing stands while the crowd of Brothers looked on.
Brothers from Wisconsin who marched in the parade, even though near the end owing to alphabetical order, were greeted with cheers and waves along the way. Certainly a day that showed Masonry’s relevance as well as its history.
Over 5,000 Masons gathered to witness the re-enactment.
Senior Grand Warden R.W. Gary Huffman, Grand Lodge of Virginia pours the wine of refreshment. Ill. James Cole 33º Sovereign Grand Commander A.A.S.R. SMJ looks on.
By Dave Ritchie, Wisconsin Masonic Journal