Freemasons from throughout Rhode Island and their guests met at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter on Friday, May 28
... to lay a wreath at the Masonic Veterans Memorial and dedicate benches that have been added to the memorial. The ceremony was conducted by Robert B. Ellston, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was assisted by Keith Moan, Right Worshipful Grand Marshal, and Mekawy E, Elmekawy, Right Worshipful Grand Chaplain. Robert A. Drisko, Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer, presented a history of the Memorial Day holiday as it is observed in the US. A color guard from Overseas Lodge No. 40 presented the American flag. The Masonic Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 2006. Wreaths are placed at the memorial each Veterans Day and the Friday preceding the Memorial Day holiday.
Address by Most Worshipful Robert B. Ellston, Grand Master
Memorial Day 2021
Today we are met on this hallowed ground to honor those who have given their all in defense and preservation of this great democracy, The men and women who are buried here did not hesitate to leave home and loved ones to serve that we might continue to enjoy the freedoms that are denied to so many in other lands.
Our forefathers came to this land seeking relief from oppression and a chance at improving their lot in life. In time, the need for self- government became self-evident and out of that came what we now know as the United States of America – a Country “of the people, by the people and for the people”. This seat of democracy comes at a price. Over the last 250 years, we have at times been engaged in numerous “actions” designed to protect and enhance the ideals on which this country was founded. Some of these “actions” were major in scope and some were considered to be “smaller police actions”, but in any case many of our young men and women paid the ultimate price and today we are assembled to pay homage and remember those who have done so.
Let us not forget that while we may not always agree with the course of action taken by those in our government, untold numbers of people from around the world continue to clamor at our doorstep for the opportunity to enter and enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we daily take for granted. And for that, we today thank those who have served in our armed forces and honor those who occupy this hallowed ground. May the Great Architect of the Universe bless and keep them within his Eternal Kingdom. May blessings flow upon the members of our armed forces as they continue to protect this land and us from those who would seek to oppress us. May peace, harmony and understanding amongst all peoples of the world triumph. May GOD bless us and the United States of America.
Those of you who regularly visit the memorial will notice something different this year. The four benches were installed just this week, and represent the completion of this Masonic Memorial, which was dedicated in 2006.
These benches recognize and honor six branches of the US armed forces, Army, Navy, Marine Corps., Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine with individual emblems for each service. Each bench holds three emblems—each of the six branches being represented twice on the four benches.
The inscription is particularly important, “In Honor of All Those Who Have Served”. We can never repay the debt we owe to our brothers, and all members of the military, who have given their lives in service to this country. What we can do is remember, respect and venerate their sacrifice and their legacy.
Today, it’s my privilege to officially dedicate these benches to the Freemasons of this Grand Jurisdiction who have served this country in war and peace and to incorporate these benches into this memorial monument.