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The Builder Magazine Vol i # Vii

The Builder Magazine Vol i # Vii

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Published by Cosmomind

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Published by: Cosmomind on Jul 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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JULY 1915
 BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M., D.C.HISTORY is often perverted in its memorials, and memorials arethe enduring evidences which impress the minds of generations andgenerations.Few people take the trouble to snake careful inquiry into evencurrent events. Most of us read the head-lines in the daily papers,and form hasty conclusions. Life is too short, we say, to delve intodetails of much that is passing. The head-lines are often ambiguous,and sometimes are contradicted in the text below them. A monument or statue to memorialize a man usually invitesattention to his most important act, and this is never lost sight of either by its projectors or by the artist.In the Capital of the Nation there are, in the Parks and Streets, morethan 50 memorials of heroes, idols, and events besides those undercover in the Public Buildings. Though more than half of thesememorialize men who were Masons, there is no Masonic emblemnor word to indicate it, with one exception.
Enthusiasts are making history. It has been said there is nothingtrue in history excepting the dates: but it still continues.The first statue erected in Washington was that of Columbus,sculpted by the great Persico, situated on the buttress on the eastside of the Capitol. It shows Columbus in the armor and the uniformhe wore, as a discoverer, and the memorial is called Discovery. The bust is a replique of one in Madrid, modeled during the life of Columbus, and believed to be a good por trait. But, not satisfied with this, the Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians etal. secured al appropriation from Congress of $150,000 to erect another statue of Columbus which is shown in a cloak such as is worn by Monks, and even the portraiture is not at all like that of Persico'sstatue. This is all the more remarkable since it has been pretty wellprover that Columbus was a Spanish Jew. Certainly he never wroteexcepting in the Spanish Language.But our essay is upon the effigies in the Parks of Washington, whichmemorialize Freemasons, though that quality may be incidental.So many of these memorials are of military men that the stranger atonce gets the idea that we are a terribly war-like people, while weclaim to be peace lovers.Some of these memorials are dual: there are two of Washington, twoof Lincoln, and two of Columbus.The first and greatest is that of Washington. An obelisk, square,upright and perfect, plain on the outside, white and smooth; but onthe inside there are sculptured memorial stones, presented by States,Grand Lodges, Foreign Governments, Societies and individuals. The
site was selected by Washington himself, and is on the exactmeridian of Washington City, a mile due east of the Capitol, and isdue south of the Executive Mansion (now called White House.)It was intended to build it by subscription, and to make it 600 feethigh; the highest structure in the world: but the subscriptionsceased before the Civil War came on, when the obelisk was but 54feet high, and work ceased. The corner stone was laid by the GrandLodge of the District of Columbia on the 4th of July, 1848, and it was dedicated by the Grand Lodge in 1885.In 1882 Congress made an appropriation to finish the Monument,and it then passed into Government possession. It was determinedthat the foundation was not strong enough, and Col. Thos. L. Casey,of the U. S. Engineers, was accorded high honor for the masterly manner in which he accomplished the difficult work of underpinning and strengthening the foundation, which he did before adding a single course of stone. The shaft is 55 feet square atthe base and 555 feet high. Its weight is estimated at 81,120 tons.The walls, at the base, are 15 feet thick. There is now an elevator inthe monument, so its ascent is not hard. There is a spiral stair casereaching nearly to the top from which stairs the many memorialstones may be examined. Among the first contributions were beautiful stones from MasonicLodges, from the States, many cities, Societies, etc.The memorial stones, up to the present, number 151, but theSecretary of War has recently refused the Grand Lodge of Louisianathe privilege of placing a stone, and has said he will permit noneothers excepting from States.

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