True Americanism “What is true Americanism and where does it reside? Its dwelling is in the heart. It speaks a score of dialects, but one language, follows a hundred paths to the same goal, performs a thousand kinds of service in loyalty to the same ideal which is its life. True Americanism is this:
To believe that the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are given by God.
To believe that any form of power that tramples on these rights is unjust.
To believe that taxation without representation is tyranny, that government must rest upon the consent of the governed, and that the people shall choose their own rulers.
To believe that freedom must be safeguarded by law and order, and that the end of freedom is fair play to all.
To believe not in forced equality of conditions and estates, but in a true equalization of burdens, privileges, and opportunities.
To believe that the selfish interests of persons, classes and sections must be subordinated to the welfare of the commonwealth.
To believe that union is as much a human necessity as liberty is a divine gift.
To believe not that all people are good but that the way to make them better is to trust the whole people.
To believe that a free state should offer asylum to the oppressed, and an example of virtue, sobriety, and fair dealing to all nations.
To believe that for the existence and perpetuity of such a state a man should be willing to give his whole service, in property, in labor, and in life.
First Americanism Committee Our first Americanism Committee was authorized in Columbus in 1934. The members were Rear Admiral Harry G. Hamlet, Major General Amos A. Fries, Brigadier General Herbert Bliss, Doctor Bolivar J. Lloyd, Lt. Col. Charles L. Greenough, Lt. Victor E. Devereaux (Secretary), and Capt. John E. Pokorny (Chairman).
In that first year, the committee sent blank reports to the 93 chapters, and it received 32 replies. Five reported no activity, twelve reported some activity, fifteen reported commendable results. Some chapters reported that their members were active in Americanism work in the American Legion, Reserve Officers Association, or local National Defense Councils and that it was not necessary to participate also in the Sojourner patriotic effort. The committee took an admittedly narrow and selfish view on this. It stated that “one of the best ways to make the Sojourners well known, earn the respect of the public, and enlist new members is to take an active part, AS AN ORGANIZATION.”
One of the amusing highlights from the chapter reports was the statement by the Canal Zone chapter that “the entire population was under the U. S. Civil Service and needed no Americanizing.” Noteworthy among the chapters was Portland, Oregon, which established a well-organized “flying squadron” of 10 able speakers which attended Blue Lodge meetings each month and gave five minute talks on Americanism. The committee gave special commendation to Washington No. 3 for taking “a prominent part in every patriotic activity in our National Capitol (and adding) much prestige and dignity to the National Sojourners throughout the country.” The committee cited Detroit, Michigan (number four in population in the nation) and Bismarck, North Dakota as exemplifying the fact that no city is too large or too small for an all-out Sojourner effort in the field of Americanism.
In closing its first annual report, that Americanism Committee said this: “If the various chapters and the membership at large will take to heart and carry out the purposes of National Sojourners your Committee feels certain that Americanism will become a very important part of the work of each chapter and more than justify its existence.”
Americanism: A Sojourner Duty!
In the spring of 1955, our National President, Major Albert Houghton, said this on Americanism: “The future of our beloved country is the blending of ideals; personal, community, and national. That the nation of tomorrow may continue strong, loyal, and, unafraid with the same progressive spirit that has been manifested by the past generations, the foundations and footings we lay must be founded on real altruism an sound vision of realistic principles. Lead the youth of today in the paths of righteousness and fair dealing. Teach them well of those patriots of yesteryear who gave us our precious heritage. They must be made to understand that theirs is an obligation that must be maintained by blood and sweat and tears. Full understanding of the statement by Benjamin Franklin ‘You have a republic if you can keep it’ is paramount. The many chapter visits that have been my distinct privilege to enjoy, assures me that basically we are a nation of sound patriots. The one great fault is that we listen well.., agree in principle with everything said, and promptly relax and forget to go to work…!”
Through the years our National Presidents, to the man, have placed great emphasis on Americanism and patriotic programs. In spite of that emphasis some chapter programs are splendid, some mediocre, and some non-existent or unsatisfactory. Many years ago National President Admiral Homer N. Wallin (55-56) noted:
“So far as National Sojourners are concerned, there is a need and opportunity for inspired men to carry the message of [Americanism,] patriotism and brotherhood to a host of eligibles who await encouragement and explanation of the facts. Chapter leaders can stimulate recruitment efforts which will bring new members and at the same time produce new interest and activity at regular Chapter meetings. How to do it? One way is to emphasize what Sojourner membership stands for, and to explain the great commitment to a national need. These are covered quite well in our ‘PURPOSES’ and ‘PRONOUNCEMENT’. Let us regard and live up to them!”
Both our PURPOSES and PRONOUNCEMENT clearly set forth our Americanism mission are detailed below:
The Purposes of National Sojourners shall be to organize current and former members of the uniformed services 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 services of the United States (past and present) in a united effort to further the military needs of national defense, and for opposing any influence whatsoever calculated to weaken the national security
National Sojourners believe in God as The Supreme Architect of the Universe. We hold that political, economic and social problems are subsidiary to and ever separated from that steadfast belief in God. We maintain that God must motivate man if present day problems are to be solved, and we urge active participation in maintaining that Government for which our forefathers fought.
Sojourners, remember that George Washington once said, “When we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen.”
Just as our leaders have been saying all these years, Americanism is more than taking the talk — it is walking the walk by living for and by the Sojourner PURPOSES and PRONOUNCEMENT! How is your chapter Americanism program ? Do you have an active Americanism Committee and program? Do you have a flag team that has honed their presentation skills through practice? If not start now and use the resources provided on this page to become prepared to “Teach all Americans about America!” Being prepared brings to mind the following poem penned by Edwin Markham called “Preparedness”:
For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear it —
When you are the hammer, strike.
Make something good happen now and every day in the name of Americanism — it is our duty!
1. PURPOSE OF THIS WEBPAGE: This webpage is maintained by your National Americanism Committee to provide current information and resources for chapters in planning and executing their annual Americanism Program. Feedback and constructive comments to assist your National Americanism Committee in improving this webpage are encouraged and may be forwarded to the National Americanism Committee Chairman, Brother Paul Pennybacker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2. PLANNING YOUR CHAPTER ANNUAL AMERICANISM PROGRAM tutorial.
3. AMERICANISM PROGRAM RESOURCES:
AMERICANISM PROGRAMS are designed for presentation within our communities to government, civic, religious, fraternal, youth, historic preservation, and Masonic organizations. Note that with regard to the latter, AMERICANISM PROGRAMS become BRIDGE OF LIGHT PROGRAMS when they are presented as a Service to the Craft in a Grand Lodge, Blue Lodge, or Masonic Appendant Body setting. Refer to the BRIDGE OF LIGHT webpage located elsewhere in SOJOURNERS ONLY section of this website for more information.
CLICK ON THE LINK IN THE CHARTS BELOW TO
VIEW THE PROGRAM RESOURCE SHEETS
FOR FULL FUNCTIONALITY OF THE FILLABLE PDFS
DOWNLOAD THEM BEFORE OPENING
George Washington Program Slides (.pptx)
Building the Flag Script (.pdf)
(Caveat to the above: the end of the video needs to be updated)