Brothers in arms
A message from Freemasonry’s Service Lodges
Late last year, current and retired servicemen undertook a number of charitable and commemorative activities as members of one of Freemasonry’s Service Lodges spread across Australia.
We sent Christmas parcels directly to troops based overseas, as we have done for some years. On one occasion, the point of contact returned to his office in Afghanistan to find it stacked high with parcels for distribution. While the parcels contain lollies, savoury biscuits, an individual Christmas pudding and a magazine, they also include a letter from the members and a personal card – but most importantly, they include a pack of Tim Tams!
It is always nice to receive a response from the recipients who say how much it means to them to be remembered. Other charitable work included a $1,000 donation to Quilts of Valour. Their mission is to present handmade quilts to service members and veterans in recognition of their sacrifice for Australia while deployed on combat operations. Recognition also extends to the families of Australian Defence Force personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice. These are ‘warmly’ received, including by some members of Service Lodges. Money is also regularly raised for Legacy and the Good Friday Appeal.
Very importantly, we hold commemorations each year for Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and the Battle of Long Tan. The Long Tan ceremony is typically conducted by Vietnam veterans. The central feature is a replica of the Long Tan Cross surrounded by the flags of the participating nations and a candle for each of the fallen. There is much ceremony involved. The keynote speaker at the most recent event was a combat medic in the Ready Reaction Force on the day of the battle who went through the battlefield the following morning.
Freemasonry has at its core the three principles of Brotherhood, Charity and a belief in a Supreme Being. Service Lodges are formed based on the common military background of its members, and while rank is acknowledged, every member is treated equally – much as occurs on the sports field. The Army Lodge is one of these and is based in Melbourne but there are others in every state and territory. If you would like to know more about Service Lodges and Freemasonry, visit the Army Lodge website or contact the Thearmylodge478 [at] gmail.com.
Major Andrew Leong, Kabul Garrison Command, with recently arrived parcels for the troops ready for distribution, November 2017