M.W. George F. Hamilton’s President’s Day Message
February 20, 2023
Brethren and friends,
Today marks the 144th anniversary of the United States celebrating George Washington’s birthday as a federal holiday. President’s Day, as it has come to be known, is officially recognized as “Washington’s Birthday” at the federal-level and in Massachusetts. The tradition of honoring Washington’s birthday on February 22, and later Abraham Lincoln’s February 12 birthday, has evolved into a celebration of all those who served as President of the United States.
While it is proper on this day to honor and recognize everyone who has held the nation’s highest office, Washington’s Birthday 2023 has a special significance for Freemasons to celebrate the country’s first president and most cherished Brother. This year, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA marks the 100th anniversary of laying its cornerstone. As part of the commemoration, I will have the honor of leading a contingent of Massachusetts Masons in a parade through Alexandria to the grounds of the Memorial. A cornerstone re-dedication ceremony will follow.
The Memorial was conceived to “express in durability and beauty the undying esteem of the Freemasons of the United States for him in whose memory it shall stand throughout the coming years.” In 2015, the National Park Service designated the George Washington National Masonic Memorial as a National Historic Landmark.
2023 is significant for one further reason: it is the 270th anniversary of Brother Washington being raised in Fredericksburg Lodge, Fredericksburg, VA. According to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial’s website,
No precise date can be found when the Lodge at Fredericksburg began. The date of its first meeting is usually found as September 1, 1752, under a dispensation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Colony of Massachusetts. The Lodge was granted a charter on July 21, 1758, by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
The definitive source for verifying this information, our Grand Lodge Proceedings, does not reference granting a dispensation to Fredericksburg Lodge. If the GWMNM is correct, however, Massachusetts Freemasonry could claim Washington as one of our own.
As you enjoy the holiday with family, friends, or simply a day-off from work, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the unique bond American Freemasons share with Presidents James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, and – of course – George Washington.
God bless our beloved Fraternity!
Sincerely & fraternally,