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Independence Day!

Today in Masonic History it is Independence Day, 2015.

Independence day is celebrated annually in the United States to recognize the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The document was meant to explain the reasons why the thirteen (13) British colonies of the Americas chose to separate from England. Some scholars believe the document was not signed until August 2nd, 1776. Although writings from Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock all say they signed the Declaration on July 4th, 1776.

Independence day, in fact the American Revolution itself holds a special place for American Freemasons. We tend to hold up the fact George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and various members of the Sons of Liberty were leaders in the Revolution.

Although it is true nine (9) Freemasons (out of 56), signed the Declaration of Independence, including it's most famous signer, John Hancock. It is not so much the men who made the impact on the Revolution. It is the principals of Freemasonry which helped to form the United States of America.

Some scholars point to the publication Anderson's Constitutions as a source for those ideals. Some of the ideals and codes of conduct which we find in Anderson's Constitutions later appear in the United States Constitution. A common example is the prohibition on Religion as a topic of conversation in a lodge room where business is discussed. It is seen as a source of division within the lodge. Similarly, it can be equally said, Religion in Government causes the same division in our ruling bodies, not allowing Government to properly govern for all of it's people.

For the Declaration of Independence and the events which lead to it, those who know the lessons our ritual inculcates, it is obvious to see where the men who helped form the early United States believed in those principals, mason or not. As an example, Freemason's believe we all meet upon the level, the Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal".

In the end Washington, Franklin, Hancock and the list of other notable and not so notable members of the American Revolution who were Freemasons, put themselves in harms way for their belief in a better future. It becomes less about those men and more about the ideals and principals, many of which are put forth by Freemasonry in the United States and around the World. Those same ideals are stated in our ritual over and over again, not to make them common place, but to remind us of the importance of those words which inspired revolutions, in the Untied States and beyond.

As we celebrate the birth of the United States we should remember it was those Freemasons involved in the Revolution who had the courage to risk their lives for an ideal. It was in a Freemason lodge where they heard those ideals put forth and where they were reminded of them to the point they became a part of their lives. A gift which is now ours to cherish and pass on in our Freemason Lodges and in our communities.

To my American brethren Happy Fourth of July! May it be safe and filled with family and friends!

To my brethren around the world, may the ideals of Justice, Freedom and Equality be ever present in your lodges and communities.