Remembering Pearl Harbor

By Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott
Attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941
December 7, 2016 is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Empire of Japan. This day marked the entry of the United States into World War II and changed the course of history of the world.

Over four years, 1941-1945, 16 million Americans served in the US armed forces, with 416,800 paying the ultimate price. Defeating the Axis powers in Europe, total victory was achieved as the war ended with surrender of Japan aboard the USS Missouri where the Japanese government signed a treaty to end the war.

These service men and women came home and resumed their lives, raised a families and became active in their communities, including many who joined the Masonic fraternity in record numbers.

Today, the veterans who served in this war are quickly passing away and a few of them will gather one more time at Pearl Harbor to remember their fallen comrades. The years may go by, but the pain suffered by many is still very real.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Remembers Fallen Colleagues
It’s impossible to fully thank these Veterans for their service and sacrifice, but the herculean task they performed to save the world will never be forgotten. 

Tom Brokaw in his book The Greatest Generation ended when he said, “After talking to so many of them and reflecting on what they have meant in my own life, I now know that it is in those small ceremonies and quiet moments that this generation is appropriately honored. No fanfare is required. They’ve had their parades. They’ve heard the speeches. They know what they have accomplished, and they are proud. They will have their World War II memorial and their place in the ledgers of history, but no block of marble or elaborate edifice can equal their lives of sacrifice and achievement, duty and honor, as monuments to their time.

As you go about your day, take a few minutes to think of their sacrifice and the freedom they have ensured for all of us.

Thank you.
~GJK


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.   He serves as Sovereign Master of Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 of the Allied Masonic Degrees and is a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is very involved with the Boy Scouts of America and is himself an Eagle Scout.  He is Assistant Dean of the University of Illinois Library.  You can contact him at gknott63@gmail.com.  

The True Strength Of Freemasonry

by Midnight Freemasons Founder
Todd E. Creason

I've said it many times before.  I was telling somebody the other night that I think one of the great strengths of Freemasonry is that a.) it gives us the opportunity to use skills we wouldn't normally have the opportunity to use, b.) develop skills we wouldn't normally use, and c.) use skills we already possess to greater effect, and d.) have the opportunity to improve ourselves as we work together towards making the world a better place.

I went into Freemasonry with well honed skills in leadership, management and organization which I use in a variety of ways.   From Masonry I've gained skills in writing, researching, speaking, networking, and fundraising--as well as some refinements in how I conduct myself and present myself (got a lot more work to do there).  And I've been given the opportunity to build on and use some of the skills I have in art in music.

But I never really appreciated the self-improvement aspect of the Fraternity until recently.  I'm aware that I've changed over the years, and gained a lot of wisdom from my mentors and teachers along with a good deal of knowledge from my studies.  I've always worked to pass that along to new members, and I think I've done a pretty good job as a mentor and teacher.  But recently I saw an example that really showed me the potential of what Freemasonry is capable of accomplishing in a man's life when properly applied.

I've been mentoring a young man for about a year now.  He contacted me through the Midnight Freemasons with some questions about the Fraternity, thought it sounded like something he could benefit from, and he's now a  new Master Mason.  He's very enthusiastic about Freemasonry, and it occurred to me in talking with him why.  This is the first time in his life that he's been able to see what he has to offer, see the potential of what he can become, and see what the contributions of just one person can do to make one thing better in the world--and then compound that by joining forces with a group of like-minded men all with that same desire.

The Fraternity has opened his eyes, and there's a good chance he'll never be the same again.  His life was off track when he joined--our original conversations were about whether a Lodge would even want him.  Of course they did, and he joined.  Freemasonry helped put him back on the right track.  He's contributing to the work of his Lodge, he's helping out in his community, he's got a new job he loves, replaced a few bad habits with a few good ones, and is in a new relationship that's much better than the one that got him off track.  He's even begun attending church, which he hadn't done since he was a boy.  He's transformed his life, and it's truly been a marvel to see. 

I might get boos for this, but it isn't all about doing Freemasonry--attending events, degrees, meetings, etc.  It's about living Freemasonry, and when given the opportunity teaching Freemasonry.  Those of us who do, who take those ancient teachings and apply them to our life and help others do the same thing find the greatest strength of Freemasonry--the path to a well-balanced, peaceful and happy life.

~TEC

Todd E. Creason, 33°, FMLR is the Founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and is a regular contributor.  He is the award winning author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is the author of the From Labor to Refreshment blog.  He is the Worshipful Master of Homer Lodge No. 199 and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754, where is currently serves as Secretary.  He is the Sovereign Master of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees.  He is a Fellow at the Missouri Lodge of Research. (FMLR) and a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D.  You can contact him at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

The Longview

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott


There is a small town in southern Champaign County, Illinois named Longview. Longview has less than 200 residents and is a traditional Midwestern farm town. Most of the business have closed and now all that is left is a United States Post Office and some service business.

What intrigues me most about Longview is the name of the town itself. The name originates from the long view of the open Illinois prairie landscape.

But I often think about Longview as more than just this small Midwestern town. It is also a way to consider the work that is and needs to be done in Freemasonry. We often get stuck in the rut of discussions on topics such as declining membership, the costs of dues and building issues. These are important areas of concern, but are often the cause for taking our eyes off the ball of the more fundamental and needed changes for the future continued success of Freemasonry. I always advocate taking the Longview.

What does taking the Longview mean? Here are some of my thoughts:
  • Freemasonry is built one brother at a time. 
  • Understand that whatever challenges we are having today, they are not insurmountable. 
  • Have crucial conversations with other brothers within the lodge about what you would like to be as an organization in the future. 
  • Develop a written plan on how you can get there. 
  • Celebrate success. If you raise a new Master Mason it is a cause for celebration for him personally and the lodge as a whole! 
  • Become visible as an organization within the community. 
  • Offer a reason for members to come to your events. 
  • Education is a core element of a successful lodge. 
  • We are a fraternity to help grow the individual man. While charity is important, it is not the primary mission of Freemasonry. 
  • Have some fun! 

There are of course many other ideas, but the key element I want to emphasize is the Longview. Change may not come instantly. Having the patience, persistence and perseverance will pay huge dividends for a success future.

Enjoy the Longview!



~GJK

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at gknott63@gmail.com

Defenders Of Freedom

by Midnight Freemason Emeritus
Bro. Brian J. Schimian

Monday November 21, 2016 was just another day. Nothing spectacular or special.  A few days earlier on Friday, I received a text from Bro. Johnson asking if I was able to be at the Stated Communication for Waukegan #78. Of course I would do my best to attend.  Lodge isn't close to home, but I missed my adoptive Lodge Brethren. When asked why, the only response was that he "had something for me". Well, that was good enough for me, I made sure to put the meeting on my calendar and planned to attend, it gave me a reason to get out of the house and it gave my fiancĂ© a night to have quality time wth her son.

I got ready, grabbed my apron case and headed out for my journey. I was certainly excited to see my Brethren, they had just had an installation and seeing the Brothers in their new chairs was gong to be fun. I made my way around the hall shaking hands and saying hello to everyone. I also got a chance to do my thing... I grabbed the WM's hat and snapped a selfie in front of the dais. What can I say, old habits die hard. When I was in DeMolay, all the Chapters had this thing where we would abscond wth something from another Chapter. Usually a mascot or something with their name on it. I will admit, every once in a while when traveling, I come across a Lodge that houses a DeMolay Chapter and I still think about it.

I know to most on the outside of Masonry it is silly and to many inside, it is just another pin and piece of paper to collect and joke about... but I am blessed to live in a rather forward thinking GL jurisdiction that would go out of their way to recognize public service personnel. I am even more blessed by the Brothers I have sat in Lodge with across this Country. I am blessed that Bro RJ is a part of my life and thought to include me for this recognition.  I was completely caught off guard and humbly surprised when I was called to the East to receive the “Defenders of Freedom” certificate and pin from the WM Duran & RWB Johnson.



One Brother made the statement "...hold in high regard, the pins & certificates that we achieve because of the passion the man has put forth to get them...". I never thought of it that way. Throughout my entire career, I made it well known that if I got wind of any special recognition, awards or certificates coming my way, I wouldn't be there to accept it. That's not why I did the things I did. I did them because it was my job, and I knew it was a job that most couldn't do. I was blessed with the ability to do certain things and do them very well. I don't regret my decision to be that way, it made my command chain understand that I was truly doing my job because I believed in the mission and making life better for those around me. That mindset made me very effective for many years.

This is certainly the most important certificate & lapel pin I could ever receive. It calls me back to my career, it reminds me that I have Brethren that care and think about me and most of all, it reminds me of all that Freemasonry has given to me.  A debt that I certainly could never repay in a thousand lifetimes. To all the Brethren in IL that are receiving this recognition, I thank you for your serine and sacrifice. Being including amongst your ranks is truly humbling to say the least.

It really is the little things in life that make it all worth it.

“Start Level, Finish Square.”

~BJS