Ken Smotherman, PM (Secretary)

Commentary (continued)

Bros. CB Morgan, CL Harris and Wayland Alexander felt compelled or the lodge felt compelled to organize a committee of three brothers to document that history before it was lost in Masonic burials and stolen by father time. These brothers knew too well how easily our history can be lost, probably because they were witnesses to the burning of the lodge in 1922 when all previous minutes and membership records were consumed in the fire that destroyed the hall.

After I was raised, I spent many hours reading minutes from this lodge, backward through time when I hit the emptiness of that lost history. I was moved by how in a moment the history of almost 45 years vanished, never to be remembered or learned by today's masons or more importantly by their great grand children and beyond.

I was Worshipful Master of this lodge on April 17th, 2013 when the West Fertilizer Plant exploded.  The explosion ended the lives of 15 people, most of which were volunteer fireman answering the fire call. A majority of the houses to the northwest of the plant and the many other structures in town were damaged or leveled. The lodge which had been relocated to a new building next to the high school in 2002 was only 2500' from ground zero, but to the southeast of the plant. The lodge had been heavily damaged. Following the disaster, the area around the lodge was barricaded and closed off for 7-10 days. No one was allowed into this area,  Remembering the 1922 fire and the lost records, as soon as we were allowed to investigate the damages, my concern was retrieving and protecting the lodge history offsite. 

It is important that lodges take precautions to preserve their history. After all the hall is just a building, a room or a place. The "lodge" is the craft; the brothers who spoke and acted on business at stated meetings and the charity that those brothers gathered and used for the good of the community or the less fortunate. It's these acts and resolutions documented by the men and recorded in minutes of the lodge that mean something. I urge you to take some time and open your lodge's minutes book from 75 years'll find yourself inside of that lodge room, hearing their concerns and their desires. Its a read I think you will enjoy.

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