Masonic Values: The Friend To Friend Monument at Gettysburg

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Gregory J. Knott

The 26th Degree in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, “The Civil War Degree” is one of the most stirring degrees portrayed by our Valleys. It tells a compelling story that all Masons can find useful and is described as this:

“This degree teaches the quality of mercy; that it is a spirit of compassion and a tenderness of heart which dispose us to overlook differences between people."

Through an inspirational drama, this degree teaches that people with similar goals may have differing points of view and that respect should be given to the opinions of others.”

The 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil war is underway. The Civil War is by any measure one of the darkest times in American history. This was a conflict of North versus South, brother versus brother and friend versus friend.

In 1993, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania commemorated the Battle of Gettysburg with a monument called “Friend to Friend - A Brotherhood Undivided.”

This extraordinary piece of art by renowned artist Ron Tunison tells the story of Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead and Union Captain Henry Harrison Bingham.

Armistead was severely wounded at Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. Bingham heard Armistead’s cries for help and came to his aid. Bingham worked for Union General Winfield Scott Hancock who was a close friend of Armistead’s before the Civil War broke out. Armistead told Bingham of his close relationship with Hancock and entrusted Bingham with his personal effects to deliver to Hancock.

The statue illustrates Armistead giving Bingham his watch, but more importantly demonstrates that Masonic value of brotherly love. Even in the darkest hours, brothers found their trust in one another.

If you visit Gettysburg, take time to visit this memorial. It is located in the Gettysburg National Cemetery annex. This memorial is the only one in the National Park Service system that was designed, built and maintained by a private organization - the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania.

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), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He's a member of both the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club in Champaign-Urbana. He's also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL). Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts--an Eagle Scout himself, he serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. as their representative to the National Association of Masonic Scouters. 

1 comment:

  1. The Friend to Friend Monument never fails to well up emotions in me whenever I visit Gettysburg
    I like to sit on one of the bench there and reflect on what happened there of those three days in July 1863 and take in the meaning of the monument


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