George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
The world`s largest Masonic Emblem has been constructed in front of The George Washington National Memorial. The Emblem is 60 feet wide and 70 feet long, rests at a 33 degree angle, and is visible from the streets of Alexandria and from the air. The Emblem clearly identifies The Memorial as a Masonic Building. Construction has been completed and landscaping is in progress around the Emblem. The entire Memorial grounds are being prepared for Commemoration Day. The Emblem will be dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Virginia as the focal point of the activities planned to honour the memory of George Washington on the 200th. anniversary of his death. A man America holds in high esteem, the first President, George Washington, spoke these words, "To stand well in the estimation of one`s country is a happiness that no rational creature can be insensible of."
The idea of erecting a National Memorial to George Washington was formulated by several members of Alexandria - Washington Lodge No. 22. The Lodge, under the leadership of P.M. Charles Callahan, decided to erect a fireproof building to house the Washington relics entrusted to their care. The original idea soon grew to erecting a National Masonic Memorial to the most distinguished American Mason - George Washington. The Lodge soon realized the undertaking was beyond its resources and contacted the Grand Lodges of the United States to form an association to erect a fitting memorial. Between 1910 and 1922, the design of the building was decided and fund raising for the project was undertaken.
On June 5, 1922 a groundbreaking ceremony was held on the top of Shooters Hill in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1923 the Local Memorial Committee of Alexandria published a booklet describing the proposed memorial that emphasized the close design of the structure to classical ideals. "The Memorial to Washington, in its colossal form, would typify the power and strength of Masonry. The graceful outline and proportions would symbolize the beautiful tenents of the institution and would express the unfeigned loyalty and devotion of the American Mason to the ideals of Washington".
Historically, temples have been situated on hilltops or mountains, and from ancient times have been deemed sacred. The choice of Shooters Hill for the Memorial to George Washington was symbolic. It followed the ancient tradition for the location of temples and was located on soil with which Washington himself was very familiar - the very spot once proposed by Thomas Jefferson as an ideal site of the Nation`s Capital.
On 1st. November 1923, the Cornerstone ceremony was held. President of the U.S.A. Calvin Coolidge spread the cement for the cornerstone using the same trowel used by George Washington to lay the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in 1793. President Herbert Hoover participated in a Dedication Ceremony in 1932 to coincide with the George Washington Bicentennial Celebration. The structure is an imposing structure of classical architecture and Masonic symbolism. The three classic orders of architecture are displayed in the three styles of pilasters, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, on the three main sections of the tower.
The Memorial is entered by climbing a wide flight of steps terminating in a Greek Doric Temple Portico. Huge brass doors open into the Memorial Hall which is supported by Corinthian columns. At the west end of the hall stands the 17 foot plus bronze statue of Washington as Master of Alexandria - Washington Lodge. Behind the granite columns on the north and south walls of the hall are two frescoes, each measuring 18 feet high and 46 feet long. The south fresco depicts Washington and the Brethren laying the cornerstone of the United States Capitol in 1793. The north wall fresco depicts Washington and officers of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania attending a St. John`s Day service in Christ Church in Philadelphia in 1778.
The Replica Lodge Room is located in the southeast corner of the second floor and contains the furnishings used by Washington as Master of the Lodge. The Master`s Chair in the east was given to the Lodge by Washington and had been used in his library at Mount Vernon. Over the Master`s chair in the east is the Williams portrait of Washington. Also in the Replica Room are Washington`s Masonic Apron, the silver trowel and working tools used by Washington to lay the cornerstone of the United States Capitol and a bedchamber clock which was stopped by Dr. Dick at the moment of his death, 10.20 p.m. on 4th. December 1799. The main floor of the Memorial has two Lodge rooms, one occupied by Alexandria - Washington Lodge No. 22 and the other by Andrew Jackson Lodge No. 120.
The first floor houses the Shrine Room with displays of its hospitals and charities and the