Honor the Service

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Robert E. Jackson


There is a phrase - all gave some, but some gave all. I was thinking about this as I researched the history of Lieutenant Frederick John Holt Beever, the British Freemason killed in the Dakota War of 1862. While the Nation was ripped apart in Civil War, there were wars on the frontier that were also destroying lives. The Minnesota Regiments were on the border of the Dakota Territory, and were heavily involved in the battle. General Henry H. Sibley of the United States Army was leading the effort to drive back the Dakota Tribes. Among his infantry was Lieutenant Frederick John Holt Beever.

Lieutenant Beever was killed on July 29, 1863, while on assignment from General Sibley. In an effort to memorialize the loss of all Brothers on the Frontier from 1860-1890, the Frontier Army Lodge of Masonic Research included Lieutenant Beever's name in the ritual of the Empty Chair Degree. This ritual was adopted in 2001 by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, and has been used to honor Brothers in the military who never came home.

I’m not going to discuss the merits of the Dakota Uprising, as I believe in nearly every battle, you have supporters and those that disagree. There are certainly portions of our American History that I'm not proud of, but I believe every nation has gone through such dark periods. Regardless, over the years, men and women step forward in an effort to service their Country. Some step forward out of family tradition. Some because they see it as a way to support their family. But I believe that all step forward knowing that they might not return. In a matter of speaking, these men and women gave up their freedoms to be a resource for the country.

My own Lodge, Montgomery Lodge in Milford, MA, includes members that have fought in numerous wars, and was chartered by the Most Worshipful Paul Revere. We are named in memory of Major General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War soldier killed in combat in Quebec, so although we are not a "Military Lodge", we do have strong military ties. As an aside, Major General Henry Knox Lodge would be a good reference for those seeking a Military Lodge. I know there are men in my Lodge that fought in the Vietnam War, and I'm quite sure there are men in my Lodge that protested that very same war. They are still Brothers, however, and treat each other with the respect due.

On Memorial Day for the last couple of years, after marching in the local parade, Montgomery Lodge opens its doors to the public and performs the Empty Chair Degree in memory of Major General Richard Montgomery. This has become a tradition that I hope will continue. Instead of focusing on the battles during this time, I prefer to focus on the men and women that gave their lives in service to their country. They had the bravery and courage to step forward, and ended up making the ultimate sacrifice. Remember them. Honor them. And the next time you have the opportunity to stretch forth a hand to assist, channel their courage, and make a positive impact in somebody's life.

~REJ

Robert Edward Jackson is a Past Master and Secretary of Montgomery Lodge located in Milford, MA. His Masonic lineage includes his Father (Robert Maitland), Grandfather (Maitland Garrecht), and Great Grandfather (Edward Henry Jackson), a founding member of Scarsdale Lodge #1094 in Scarsdale, NY. When not studying ritual, he's busy being a father to his three kids, a husband, Boy Scout Leader, and a network engineer to pay for it all. He can be reached at info@montgomerylodge.org

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