by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33°
On December 30, 2021, Masonic social media announced the passing of RWB Thomas W. Jackson. What quickly followed was a large number of tributes and memories that brothers had reflecting upon the life and impact of RWB Jackson.
If you are not familiar with RWB Jackson, he was the past Grand Secretary of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. He had also served as the first Executive Secretary of the World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges from 1998 to 2014. He held numerous Masonic honors from around the world including as one of the Founding Fellows of The Masonic Society.
I met RWB Jackson a couple of times at Masonic Week. When his book “Masonic Perspectives - The Thoughts of a Grand Secretary” was published, he was selling it at a table at Masonic Week. I bought the book and asked him to autograph it for me.
As I was flipping through the book, I noticed that he had written a couple articles on the topic of Scouting. We had a conversation about the similarities between Scouting and Freemasonry. RWB Jackson, like myself, is an Eagle Scout and has been involved in Scouting as both youth and adult leaders. It was a fascinating conversation.
In his book, he wrote about speaking at an Eagle Court of Honor offering some thoughts on the influence, and said:
“We cannot take a step in our lives without the influence of others. We will be nothing more at any time than a reflection of the influence of others along with our modifications. The poet Markham expressed it well when he wrote: ‘There is a destiny that makes us brothers. None goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.’ So my brother Eagles, will you go beyond the ordinary? It is possible but it is up to you. Accept what scouting has to offer. Learn! Learn the meaning of the brotherhood of man, and give to others in equal measure what others have given to you. Maybe, then just maybe, you may rise above the ordinary.”
Though RWB Jackson was speaking to young Eagle Scouts, his words are equally applicable to Freemasonry. We are influenced by others and thereby we also influence others ourselves. As Freemasons, we have a tremendous opportunity to use this ability to influence others to help improve our individual communities having a positive impact upon the lives of others.
What will the legacy of RWB Jackson be? His challenge to raise the bar of Freemasonry will endure for the decades to come. I can’t think of a better way to honor the memory of RWB Jackson than by going out into your community having a positive influence on others, exerting kindness to your brothers, and helping your lodge become the very best it can be to impact all of mankind.
Rest in peace Brother.
Gregory J. Knott, 33° is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a 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. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D., and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.