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A Musical Masonic Flag Ceremony
Contributed by Dr. Roger Firestone 33º

crossed flags pin

This is the flag ceremony as executed at Henry Lodge No. 57, Fairfax, Virginia:

WM: Bro. Marshal, [Mar. rises], under the escort of the Senior [SD rises] and Junior [JD rises] Deacons, you will present the flag of our country at the altar. [SD and JD tk rd_, advance to just E of SW's station, where the Mar., bearing the colors, awaits them. Mus. plays appropriate music during floor action. The WM has raised the Lodge when the Mar. picks up the colors from the NW corner and has uncovered. Brn. give hand salute. With the D's flanking him, the Mar. advances to the altar. When they are at the altar:]

WM: All citizens of the United States will join me in pledging allegiance to the flag of our country.

Bn: [Done.]

WM: Bro. Marshal, post the colors in the East. [Mar., flanked by D's, bears colors to east and places them in flag stand, while Mus. continues music. Mar. steps back from flag. Musician plays patriotic song--National Anthem, "America," etc.--with all singing. After song, Mus. rises and joins other Brn. in salute. WM recovers and seats Lodge. Mar. and D's return to their places and sit.]

If the Marshal's place is not filled due to illness or other cause, the flag is initially placed in the East and the WM simply raises the Lodge and states "All citizens of the United States will join me in pledging allegiance to the flag of our country." He then seats the Lodge without further ceremony; no patriotic song is given.

Only a few Lodges in No. Va. seem to do the flag ceremony. Even fewer have a Musician, so the ceremony must be done (as it was before Henry Lodge acquired a Musician a decade ago) without music in some cases.

Roger M. Firestone, 33º Musician/Lodge Educ. Ofcr., Henry Lodge #57, AF&AM of VA, Fairfax

PS. I usually play "Chester" by Wm. Billings for the presentation and posting. This song almost became our national anthem during early Federal times; I don't know why it was eventually rejected. As most of you know, there _was_ no official national anthem until 1935 (?) or so, when "The Star-Spangled Banner" was adopted. Sometimes I play "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" or "You're a Grand Old Flag."