"Born in War, Nurtured in Peace"
The National Sojourners is a patriotic and fraternal organization organized for Masons who are or were also members of the United States military (or allied nation) includes those who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard as well as Public Health Service (such as) or National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The national headquarters is located at the Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism in Alexandria, VA, which is north of Mount Vernon on land that was once George Washington's "River Farm." This organization has chapters in 44 States, France, Germany, Guam, Japan, and Vietnam.
According to its Purpose section of Nation Sojourners, Inc., the purpose of the organization is:
To organize Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers of the uniformed forces (past and present) of the United States, and Honorary Members, who are Master Masons, into Chapters, for the promotion of good fellowship among its members, for assisting such as may be overtaken by adversity or affliction, for cultivating Masonic ideals, for supporting all patriotic aims and activities in Masonry, for developing true Patriotism and Americanism throughout the Nation, for bringing together representatives of the uniformed forces of the United States (past and present) in a united effort to further the military need of National Defense, and for opposing any influence whatsoever calculated to weaken the National Security.
Some of the patriotic activities performed by the Sojourners include "speeches, flag ceremonies, presentations and other actions intended to promote national security and true love of country, with special emphasis on youth."
The roots of the National Sojourners lie in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Military Lodges were instrumental in bringing Freemasonry to the American Colonies prior to the American War for Independence. During the Revolutionary War, military Lodges existed, but were not seen during the wars of the early and mid-19th centuries. When the North Dakota Regiment of Volunteer Infantry was deployed to the Philippines in that year, the Grand Lodge of North Dakota granted the Masons of that Regiment a dispensation for a military Lodge. In 1900 the Regiment left the Philippines which also removed the dispensation.
The Masons that were still in the Philippines formed a “Sojourners Club.” This club served as a replacement of the military Lodge to allow for the congregation of Masons. This club was the driving force behind the formation of Manila Lodge #342 under the Grand Lodge of California which would later become Manila Lodge #1 under the Grand Lodge of the Philippines; formed in 1913. Once Manila Lodge was formed the Sojourners Club was temporarily disbanded.
In 1907 the Sojourners Club was re-established in the Philippines and was open to Master Masons who were not members of local Lodges. As the Sojourners grew, they began to spread, and in 1917 Masons formed the "Chicago Sojourners Club." As the group spread further around the globe with the military, the group became more organized and changed from a "club" to the National Sojourners, Inc. in 1931.
The National Sojourners strives to remind us of the lessons of the Trowel which teaches us to spread the cement of Brotherly Love and Affect as they seek to bring together military Master Masons from different jurisdictions and perpetuate the universal principles taught by the fraternity. While this group did not exist in the time of Washington, they seek to emulate him as he was a great example of a Mason and soldier and often use his quote:
"When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen."
1. About Us. n.d. http://www.nationalsojourners.org/.
2. National Sojourners. June 2002. http://www.masonicworld.com/education/files/artjun02/NATIONAL%20SOJOURNERS.htm.
3. Sojourners. n.d. http://freemasoninformation.com/what-is-freemasonry/family-of-freemasonry/sojourners/.
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