PROCLAMATION - MASONRY SERVING THE ARMED FORCES
Issued on April 19, 1944, and sent to every member of the Fraternity in Massachusetts.
To the Masons of Massachusetts, FRATERNAL GREETINGS:
Masonry in Massachusetts again has an opportunity to demonstrate - in practical manner - the tenets of our profession.
Some of you may recall that, in the last war, it was impossible for Masonry as a body to do anything constructive to maintain the morale of our brothers and their sons in the service. This was because with forty-nine Grand Lodges the government authorities found no single, centralized Masonic agency with which it could deal.
But this was changed immediately after the last war. In 1919 a majority of the Grand Lodges formed the Masonic Service Association. This provided an important centralized organization of Freemasonry in the United States, ready to assist in any national emergency that might arise.
The emergency has come, and Masonry is found prepared. Already sixty Masonic Service Centers are in operation in this country (and one in London), and the personal, human service they are rendering both Masons and non-Masons has attained an almost unbelievable volume. The record speaks for itself. It is a distinct contribution to the well-being of our Government and to the men and women who are fighting the good fight for us.
But now comes the call directly to Massachusetts Masons! At the request of the Government and its morale-building agencies, a Masonic Service Center is to be opened at our own Fort Devens in Ayer. There will be no curtailment of the splendid work our Service Department is now doing. The Masonic Service Center will supplement our present program. This, together with our share of the work already being done in the other Masonic Service Centers, calls for a contribution of well over $200,000. All of the principal military posts in the state were carefully surveyed, both by the Masonic Service Association and by your own Grand Lodge - the tremendous need for a Masonic Service Center at Devens was clearly established. Existing agencies at the Fort are taxed away beyond their capacities. We can and we will meet this challenge. Our own brothers, their sons and daughters are watching us.
Within a few days committees will be organized in every Lodge to facilitate the receiving of your support. The time is short - the campaign runs only until July Fourth. Let us make it a double celebration by completing this job 100% at that time.
Therefore, I proclaim the period from April 19 to July 4, 1944, as a time of special dedication and instruct the Lodges of this Grand Jurisdiction, pursuant to plans now in the hands of the Worshipful Masters, to organize and secure the aid and assistance of the members of the Craft.
Given under my hand and seal of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Massachusetts this nineteenth day of April, 1944, A.L. 5944.
ARTHUR W. COOLIDGE, Grand Master
Attest: FRANK H. HILTON, Grand Secretary