There are times when, through sickness or the advance of years, it is impossible for a Lodge Member to attend Lodge as often as he would wish, if at all. These Brethren remain, however, close to our hearts and are as integral a part of our Lodge and Lodge life as those who are capable of attending every meeting. In some cases, however, it is not simply enough to bring their greetings and regrets during a Degree Work, their closeness to us and their Mystic Tie to our Fraternity has to be demonstrated in a far more brotherly fashion than by just the occasional telephone conversation or mail.
On Saturday, May 7, the members of North Sea Armed Forces Lodge #829 fulfilled their promises to remain true to Brethren who have remained true to their Lodge, and who have worked hard, over many years, to advance Freemasonry in Lodge and elsewhere. The Lodge traveled to the home town of WBro. William Carroll in Herborn to celebrate not only his membership of our Lodge and his activities to the benefit of Freemasonry, but also his seventy-third birthday. Although the trip, prepared with great secrecy, was meant to be a surprise, the cat had to be let out of the bag – as it was his birthday, and there are others who also wished to pass on their greetings in person – and he was expecting us. Despite this small detail, it was clear to all of us that our visit, our showing of the close connection we all feel towards him, was a moving event.
Once the greetings were completed, we packed WBro. William out-of-the-way, banned him into the garden of his own house, and prepared a Degree Work to raise a Fellow Craft into the sublime Degree of Master Mason. Before beginning the central part of our Work the Deputy District Grand Master, VWBro. Jonny Henke, presented WBro. William with a pin for forty-five years of service to the Fraternity, and the American Canadian Grand Lodge Distinguished Service Medal in silver.
As befits such an occasion, WBro. William toasted Bro. F W and congratulated him on becoming a Master Mason with a drop of fine single malt whisky.
For the members of the North Sea Armed Forces Lodge #829, this Degree Work is one which will remain in our memories for many, many years to come: a highlighting of brotherly love and a sign of dedication to those who have gone this path before us, who travel this path with us, no matter how far away they may be in terms of miles, as our hearts remain held together even when the chain of our hands is forced to part.