John W. Boettjer, 33, Grand Cross
Washington, D.C. 20009-3103
The 1997 Biennial Session celebrated another two years
of Scottish Rite accomplishment.
Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33, welcomed the distinguished Brethren attending the 1997 Biennial Session of The Supreme Council, October 5-7, saying, “You have come from across the nation and throughout the world to celebrate and to share in the accomplishments of Scottish Rite Freemasonry. I greet you with a firm fraternal handshake and link arms with you in our Masonic mission of inspiring good men to build a better world.”
Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33, welcomes Robert O. Ralston, 33, Sov. Gr. Cmdr., Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, to the 1997 Biennial Session of The Supreme Council.
Following three days of executive sessions and committee meetings, October 2-4, by Active Members of The Supreme Council, the Session began with the traditional Albert Pike Memorial Service at St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, on Sunday, October 5 at 4:00 pm. Dr. W. Kenneth Lyons, Jr., 33, Assistant Grand Chaplain, greeted the large gathering and conducted the service with dignity and grace. Inspirational music was provided by Samuel Carabetta, organist and choirmaster of St. John’s Church, and the choir of St. John’s Church with a solo of “America the Beautiful” rendered by baritone Ron Norman, a former U.S. Navy Sea Chanters.
Grand Commander Kleinknecht provided the scripture reading from Psalm 8, and Bishop Carl J. Sanders, 33, Grand Cross, Grand Chaplain, delivered a moving sermon titled “How Big Is Your God?” which reaffirmed Freemasonry’s reverence for an all-powerful, good, and caring Creator. (The text of the sermon was published in the October 1997 Scottish Rite Journal.) Appropriate to 1997 being the centennial of our official national march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” the service’s post-lude, was a spirited four-hand organ arrangement of Brother John Philip Sousa’s most famous composition.
The Albert Pike Memorial Service was followed by a reception at the House of the Temple which began with the formal dedication of a Scottish Rite Hall of Honor portrait honoring Dr. Stephen J. Trachtenberg, 33, G.C., President of The George Washington University (GWU). (See inside front cover, top left photo.) Dr. William L. Fox, 33, Grand Historian and Grand Archivist, introduced Grand Commander Kleinknecht who briefly sketched Ill. Trachtenberg’s many Masonic contributions, including his donation in 1995 to The Supreme Council of a heroic bronze bust of Brother George Washington, now in the House of the Temple Garden, and the significant expansion of the Scottish Rite Scholarship Program at GWU in recent years.
Dr. Trachtenberg responded to the presentation of his portrait saying, in part: “Generally, I am not at a loss for words, but now is an exception. The presentation of such a portrait is an honor that comes once in a lifetime, if that, and I am deeply gratified to have it happen in this historic building and in the presence of such good friends and so many of my Scottish Rite Brethren. When I became the President of The George Washington University, the greatest honor I had was to become a member of this brotherhood. It was the single best decision I made in the ten years I have been in the nation’s capital.”
Following the reception, a second significant ceremony took place, the symbolic ribbon cutting and formal dedication of the Burl Ives Collection in the House of the Temple. Mrs. Dorothy Ives, her daughter Barbara Vaughan, and several other Ives family members and friends were present to hear Grand Commander Kleinknecht tell the Brethren assembled in the Atrium of his personal admiration for the late Bro. Burl Icle Ives, 33, G.C., and for the many contributions he made to American music and film as well as to a wide variety of humanitarian and environmental causes.
Mrs. Ives responded saying: “I am overwhelmed at the great honor of having a room dedicated to Burl--a man of love whom I loved deeply--here in this magnificent building in the capital of our nation. I invite everyone to visit the Burl Ives Collection and enjoy its displays. We will continue to update the exhibit, so it will always be fresh and interesting.”
Pausing in the vestibule of St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, prior to the Albert Pike Memorial Service, are (l. to r.): Bishop Carl J. Sanders, 33, G.C., Grand Chaplain; Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33; and Dr. W. Kenneth Lyons Jr., 33, Assistant Grand Chaplain.
Ill. H. Douglas Lemons, Lt. Gr. Cmdr., S.G.I.G. in California and personal friend of Brother Burl, then presented a check for $100,000 from the Scottish Rite Brethren of California toward the House of the Temple Historical Preservation Foundation, proceeds from this donation to be used to maintain and enhance the Burl Ives Collection. He noted: “Burl was among my dearest friends and closest fraternal Brothers. I, representing the Scottish Rite Brethren of California, am very happy and honored to support this magnificent tribute to Burl and so assure that his musical and philanthropic contributions to America and Freemasonry will never be forgotten for generations to come.”
The General Session began at 8:00 am on Monday with registration and the formal opening of The Supreme Council in the Temple Room at 9:00 am. Following a roll call of all Active Members and a warm greeting to the nation’s capital by M.W. Robert F. Drechsler, 33, Grand Master of Masons for the District of Columbia, Ill. John E. Moyers, 33, S.G.I.G. in Kentucky, expertly carried out his duties as Grand Master of Ceremonies by introducing distinguished guests to the assemblage. Among them were the Grand Masters of the Grand Lodges of Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. (See boxed list at right.)
Grand Commander Kleinknecht personally greeted each Grand Master and then, as they were introduced, the delegates from the following Supreme Councils: Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, The Danish Order of Freemasons, Dominican Republic, England and Wales, France, Honduras, Iran in Exile, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, USA. General applause greeted Grand Commander Kleinknecht spontaneously inviting Sov. Gr. Cmdr. Robert O. Ralston to share the central throne in the East since, as Ill. Kleinknecht said, “It’s big enough for two Grand Commanders.”
Responding for the attending Sovereign Grand Commanders, Ill. Ralston said, in part: “I always look forward to any opportunity to be with the leaders and members of the Southern Jurisdiction as it provides an open door to the exchange of ideas, increased unity of effort and purpose, and expanded personal friendship. In our great American history, we have heard the phrase Manifest Destiny with regard to the expansion of our United States from its original 13 states ultimately to range from sea to shining sea. As Scottish Rite Masons in the Southern and Northern Masonic Jurisdictions, I wonder if we may not have a similar mission--to unite not only in programs and purposes but in fact to become the beacon light and example for all Freemasons for all time. We have in our grasp the unique opportunity to put aside parochial interests and to move forward toward unification. Let’s add vision, commitment, and dedication to that opportunity. Remember, in Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the time is always now!”
Pictured (l. to r.) at the symbolic ribbon cutting and formal dedication of the Burl Ives Collection in the House of the Temple on October 5, 1997, are Dorothy Ives, wife of the late Ill. Burl Ives, 33, G.C.; Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33; and Ill. H. Douglas Lemons, 33, Lt. Gr. Cmdr. and S.G.I.G. in California.
Breaking away from his duties on Capitol Hill, Ill. Trent Lott, 33, U.S. Senator from Mississippi and Senate Majority Leader, was then introduced to the assemblage and greeted by the Grand Commander who praised the Senator for the direction he has taken of returning the nation to the fundamental principles of government as envisioned by the founders of our nation. Grand Commander Kleinknecht then took the opportunity to present Senator Lott with the Grand Cross, our Order’s highest honor.
Senator Lott responded by reminiscing about his father, a Mason, and the benefits of Freemasonry. During a period of personal turmoil, his father was assisted by his Lodge Brothers who went out of their way to give support and counsel. This convinced Senator Lott to become a Mason in order to find out what made these men “who had that look of being a Mason” so caring and attentive. After being raised to the Third Degree, Bro. Lott continued on through the Shrine and Scottish Rite. He noted that now, “Everywhere I go, Masonry touches me, and I know I am among friends.” He concluded his remarks by expressing his gratitude for receiving the 33 and Grand Cross, “the highest honors of my life. If we had more men like you [Masons], I know it would strengthen America. Thank you for all you do for your families, churches, fraternity, and America.” Moved by the Senator’s eloquent and personal remarks, the Brethren stood for a resounding ovation as Ill. Bro. Lott bid them farewell and returned to his Senate duties.
Representatives of the many Allied Bodies and organizations attending were then introduced by the Grand Master of Ceremonies and greeted personally by the Grand Commander. Among them were leaders of the Knights Templar, Royal Arch, Red Cross of Constantine, Masonic Service Association, Order of DeMolay, National Sojourners, Inc., George Washington Masonic National Memorial, and Shrine.
Ill. Lewis B. Brantley, 33, Imperial Potentate, A.A.O.N.M.S., responded for these distinguished Brethren. He expressed great pleasure and honor at being among such illustrious Masons. The majority of men he has worked with, he noted, have been Masons and have made significant contributions to America: “I’m a better man because of Freemasonry, and each of us is better because of this glorious association we call the Craft. Masons are in fact the greatest assemblage of caregivers in the world.”
Grand Commander Kleinknecht warmly thanked Imperial Sir Brantley for his inspirational remarks and, in recognition of all he has done for the Shrine and Freemasonry, the Grand Commander presented Ill. Brantley with a Certificate of Honor from The Supreme Council, 33.
Attending the traditional laying of a wreath at the crypt of Albert Pike in the House of the Temple were (l. to r.) Sov. Gr. Cmdrs. Julian Gascon, Mexico; Gabriel Jesus Marin, Argentina; Jesus M. Batista, Dominican Republic; Robert O. Ralton, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA; C. Fred Kleinknecht, Southern Jurisdiction, USA; Peter Frohmader, Honduras; Elvio Sciubba, Past S.G.C., Italy; Antonio Moron Castellot, Spain; Laurent Ottro, Ivory Coast; and Børge Clausen, Sovereign Grand Master, Denmark.
The Grand Commander then called five distinguished Illustrious Brethren to the altar in order to present them with jewels recognizing their election as Emeriti Members of Honour of The Supreme Council: Antonio Moron Castellot, Supreme Council of Spain; Sov. Gr. Master Børge Clausen, Danish Order of Freemasons, Grand Lodge of Denmark; Peter W. Frohmader, Supreme Council for the Republic of Honduras; Glenn M. Martin, Supreme Council of Canada; Laurent Ottro, Supreme Council for Ivory Coast. Also named as Emeriti Members of Honour, but not present at this ceremony, were: Georgios Halkiotis, Supreme Council of Greece, and Hubert Kopp, Supreme Council for Germany. Responding for the recipients, Ill. Glenn M. Martin, Supreme Council of Canada, stated that the 120 years of peace, goodwill, understanding between Canada and the United States should serve as a model for world peace and harmony.
Noting the presence of the well-known entertainer Norman L. Crosby, 33, in the Temple Room, Grand Commander Kleinknecht offered Ill. Crosby an opportunity to address the Brethren. Using his characteristic humorous muddling of words, Ill. Crosby thanked “The Extreme Council” for its courtesy and commented on how the Grand Commander’s message “Words” in the October Scottish Rite Journal was of particular interest to him since “words have been my life” as a comic. In parting, he advised the Brethren “to live every day of your life as if it were your last, and someday you will be right.”
Ill. Robert L. Goldsmith, 33, S.G.I.G. in Florida and Grand Orator, then delivered the Biennial Session’s Grand Oration, a stirring tribute to Brother John Philip Sousa, which is reprinted starting on page 17 of this issue.
Ill. Sam E. Hilburn, S.G.I.G. in Texas and Grand Treasurer, then reported as Chairman of The Supreme Council Finance Committee and was pleased to note there would be no per capita increase, despite declining membership and increasing expenses, due to a return average in the range of 20% on the investment portfolios held by The Supreme Council. “A sacred trust has been placed in the hands of the members of the Finance Committee,” Inspector Hilburn concluded, “and every effort will be made to continue the present secure, reasonably cautious, and efficient handling of our Rite’s financial interests.”
Past Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council for France, Raoul L. Mattei, 33, an Emeritus Member of Honour of our Supreme Council, addressed the General Session on Monday, October 6, 1997, following the presentation to him of a Certificate of Honor by Sovereign Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33.
At this point, Grand Commander Kleinknecht briefly reviewed his Allocution, a biennial report of Supreme Council activity, and noted that the complete published text of the Allocution could be obtained by the Brethren as they left the Temple Room. The Grand Commander then adjourned the General Session and moved with the Active Members to the Executive Chamber to elect Knights Commander of the Court of Honour and Thirty-third Degree Inspectors General Honorary.
After a delicious buffet luncheon served in the George Washington Memorial Banquet Hall for all registered Biennial Session participants, the General Session resumed in the Temple Room at 1:30 pm with the report of the Obituary Committee by its Chairman, Ill. William M. Hutcheson, 33, S.G.I.G. in Georgia and First Grand Equerry. Upon completion of the report, Ill. Robert E. Redding, 33, played “Taps” and Gerald J. Connelly III, 32, K.C.C.H., U.S. Navy Band, sang “Taps” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Other committee reports were presented during the afternoon General Session by Ill. Bros. H. Wallace Reid, Chairman, Fraternal Relations Committee; Earl K. Dille, Chairman, Unity Committee; J. W. Fagan, Member, Library Committee; Paul T. Million, Jr., Chairman, Ritual and Ceremonial Forms Committee; Robert L. Goldsmith, Chairman, Jurisprudence and Legislation Committee; H. Douglas Lemons, Chairman, State of the Order Committee (see page 11 of this issue); C. B. Hall, Chairman, Subcommittee on Strategic Planning; Warren D. Lichty, Chairman, Publications Committee; and Jack E. Nixson, Chairman, House of the Temple Committee. The last report was waived because of the late hour, but then presented, discussed, and approved during Tuesday’s Executive Session.
During intervals between reports, Grand Commander Kleinknecht presented Ill. Raoul L. Mattei, Past Sovereign Grand Commander, a Certificate of Honor from The Supreme Council in recognition of all he has done to advance Freemasonry and the Scottish Rite in France. Also, Ill. Bro. Børge Clausen, Sovereign Grand Master, Danish Order of Freemasons, Grand Lodge of Denmark, was invited to address the assemblage, and Ill. Jiri Sonka, Sov. Gr. Cmdr., Supreme Council of the Czech Republic, presented a book on Czech Freemasonry to Grand Commander Kleinknecht.
Music star Randy Sparks paid tribute to his lifelong friend Ill. Burl Ives, 33, G.C., during the Biennial SessionGala Concert.
After the adjournment of the afternoon General Session, Brethren prepared to attend the Biennial Session’s Gala Concert at the Washington, D.C., Scottish Rite Temple. Titled “Celebrating the Cadence of America,” the concert was a musical salute to Bros. Burl Ives and John Philip Sousa. Preliminary to the concert’s first part, Ill. H. Douglas Lemons introduced Dorothy Ives to the audience. Mrs. Ives thanked the Scottish Rite for honoring her beloved late husband by creating the Burl Ives Collection in the House of the Temple and by dedicating much of the Gala Concert to her husband’s musical career. Mrs. Ives then introduced music star Randy Sparks who, with three accompanists, performed a heartwarming medley of spirited songs and humorous anecdotes. Randy was a close friend and musical associate of Bro. Burl for nearly 30 years, and his musical weaving of personal stories and original songs into a tribute to Burl Ives moved the audience to enthusiastic applause.
The second half of the evening’s program was a performance by Keith Brion leading his New Sousa Band dressed in period costumes. Mr. Brion, who looks amazingly like Sousa, mirrored the brisk manner and crisp conducting of “America’s March King.” The evening’s climax was the traditional playing of Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” complete with nearly 500 Brethren and guests keeping time by waving miniature American flags.
Both on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, complimentary bus tours of the nation’s capital were available to those not attending the Sessions. Specific sites visited were the new FDR Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and the home of George Washington at Mount Vernon.
Keith Brion conducted the audience and his New Sousa Band at the Biennial Session Gala Concert in a rousing version of “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
On Tuesday morning, The Supreme Council met in Executive Session beginning at 9:00 am, and the Scottish Rite Research Society Executive Board met at 11:00 am. At 1:00 pm, Ill. Forrest D. Haggard, 33, G.C., President of the Scottish Rite Research Society, chaired a General Membership Meeting of the Scottish Rite Research Society and welcomed Ill. William L. Fox, 33, as the guest speaker. Dr. Fox is the author of Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle: Two Centuries of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in America’s Southern Jurisdiction. Just published by the University of Arkansas Press, this one-volume history of The Supreme Council is a milestone publication for American Masonry (see p. 39) and sure to be a standard source for generations of general readers and scholars. Dr. Fox gave a fascinating account of the premises behind the book and the adventures along the way in composing the history.
At 3:30 pm, The Supreme Council and all attending newly elected 33 Brethren gathered at the Scottish Rite Temple of the District of Columbia for a conferral of the Thirty-third Degree. The Honorable Melvin Eugene Carnahan, Governor of Missouri, was the Active Candidate. Responding for all the Electees, Governor Carnahan, 33, said he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Degree and, more importantly, by its lessons of humility, honor, and service.
He concluded his remarks saying, “We are tested today by other ideas, but we, as Scottish Rite Masons, are in a special position of strength. We can look back to the high ideals of our Brethren and the many accomplishments their vision made possible. Then, from the vantage point of their philosophy and example, we can move forward to set new benchmarks of excellence in service to mankind and America”
Ill. Walter S. Downs, 33, G.C., Personal Representative and Secretary of the Alexandria, Virginia, Scottish Rite Bodies, for the fifth time led, in the role of Sovereign Grand Commander, the 33 Degree Team of the Alexandria Bodies, and rendered a flawless performance. Grand Commander Kleinknecht thanked each member of the Degree Team for his outstanding work and congratulated the new Inspectors General Honorary on having achieved this high distinction.
Ill. James T. Tresner II, 33, is presented the Grand Cross by Grand Commander Kleinknecht at the Gala Banquet.
Following the Degree, over 1,000 Brethren, their ladies, and guests gathered at the Capital Hilton for the Gala Banquet. Ill. Donald G. Brotzman, 33, acted as Master of Ceremonies and began the evening’s festive program. Following the presentation of the colors by the Armed Forces Color Guard, SFC Beverley Benda, U.S. Army Chorale, sang our national anthem with a moving purity of tone and a spirit of patriotic reverence. Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson, USMC, 33, Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, then led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Bishop Carl J. Sanders, 33, G.C., gave an inspirational blessing. During dinner, Louis F. Coppola and the Stereo Strings strolled through the banquet hall rendering several familiar and delightful melodies.
Ill. Brotzman, Master of Ceremonies, began the main program of the evening by introducing the Head Table Guests and asking each attending Grand Master to stand and be honored by a round of applause. Then Gr. Cmdr. Kleinknecht was introduced and, in turn, he presented the members of his family who were seated in front of the head table. Ill. H. Douglas Lemons presented a dozen yellow roses to the Grand Commander’s wife, Gene, our “Scottish Rite’s First Lady.” Ill. Robert L. Goldsmith then introduced his good friend and the evening’s keynote speaker, Ill. R. Dave Thomas, 33, G.C., Founder and Senior Chairman of the Board, Wendy’s International. Ill. Thomas quickly won over the audience with his obvious sincerity and down-home charm. Clearly, Bro. Thomas is as good and wholesome as the products he represents in the Wendy Corporation’s familiar advertisements.
Ill. Thomas reflected on his 30 years as a Mason and his friendship with fellow fast-food entrepreneur Col. Sanders, 33, who was proud to wear a large Masonic ring. If life has taught him anything, he said, it is the importance of family and that the word “no” should never be in anyone’s vocabulary since you never know what you can do until you really try. For instance, he has long advocated simplifying adoption so that more children can be united with loving parents and “not lose their childhood.” Today, adoption benefits are becoming more available. Earlier that day, for instance, Ill. Thomas was on Capitol Hill lobbying for legislation to take the red tape out of the adoption procedure. If there is one benefit of his fame that he relishes most, Ill. Thomas said, it is the influence it gives him to make adoption reform possible.
Following a standing ovation for Ill. Bro. Dave’s remarks, Grand Commander Kleinknecht then asked Grand Cross recipients attending the banquet to stand and be recognized. Then, assisted by Ill. H. Douglas Lemons, he presented Grand Cross jewels to the 1997 recipients present: Norman L. Crosby, Orient of California, noted entertainer and philanthropist; R. Dave Thomas, Orient of Florida, renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist; Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Orient of the District of Columbia, President, The George Washington University, author, lecturer, and Masonic scholar; and James T. Tresner II, Orient of Oklahoma, author, Degree master, lecturer, and Masonic scholar. Dr. Trachtenberg formally responded for the Grand Cross honorees. (The text of his response is published on page 20 of this issue.) Grand Cross recipients in 1997 not present at the Gala Banquet were Ill. Trent Lott, 33, Orient of Mississippi, U.S. Senator and Senate Majority Leader; Ill. Harold Edward Stassen, 33, Orient of Minnesota, Governor, United Nations Charter Signatory, and University President; and Sidney Sanders McMath, 33, Orient of Arkansas, Governor, General U.S.M.C. (Ret.), Distinguished Attorney.
Grand Commander Kleinknecht then asked Ill. Norm Crosby to give his impressions of American society today, and soon the audience was in tears from laughing at this great entertainer’s rapid-fire jokes and humorously twisted words.
Flag waving came naturally to Brethren and guests at the Biennial Session’s Gala Concert which was dedicated in part to Bro. John Philip Sousa and his music. Joining in a standing ovation for Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band are (l. to r.) Maxine Lemons, wife of Lt. Gr. Cmdr. H. Douglas Lemons, 33, S.G.I.G. in California; Grand Commander Kleinknecht and his wife, Gene; Ill. Charles S. Iversen, 33, S.G.I.G. in the District of Columbia, and his wife, Eleanor.
Previous to a closing prayer by Bishop Carl J. Sanders, Grand Commander Kleinknecht shared final remarks on the beauty and significance of the Biennial Session’s events saying: “You are here tonight because you have done something big, something significant, and something very worthwhile for Freemasonry, the Scottish Rite, and America. I congratulate you, I honor you, and I ask you to rededicate yourself, with your beloved lady, to even more service and additional outstanding contributions to our Craft, to our Rite, and to our Country. With these words of salute and best wishes, I close this Biennial Session with a sense of high fulfillment and gratitude. You are the leaders of our Order, the men who make things happen and get things done. You will, I am sure, continue to be in the front ranks of the Rite and, by your outstanding performance, bring Freemasonry into a new century of Masonic accomplishment and success. God keep you all in this endeavor!”