Monday , 22 January 2018
Masonic Village eternal flame monument to honor veterans

Masonic Village eternal flame monument to honor veterans

53b5996cbefb4.imageAn open flame in a grove of 268 oak trees usually wouldn’t sound like a great idea.

That is, unless it’s for a good cause, and safety precautions are taken.

On Sept. 20, an eternal flame monument will be unveiled in the Veterans Grove at the Masonic Village campus in Elizabethtown.

Atop the nearly 9-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide memorial will be a natural gas-fed flame that will remain lit 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A plaque on the front of the eternal flame will state “This Eternal Flame Dedicated September 20, 2014 Honors All Active Military and Veterans. All Gave Some — Some Gave All.”

“This is Free Masonry reaching out to say thank you to all the veterans for the freedoms they created for this country,” Joseph Murphy, CEO of Masonic Village, said.

The memorial will complement the 268 oak trees (planted in remembrance of the 268 Masons who lost their lives in World War I), monuments, walking paths and picnic tables within the grove.

It will serve as a site to remember every citizen who has sacrificed on or off the battlefield.

“This eternal flame is a recognition of everyone,” Murphy said. “They’re never forgotten.”

Murphy, whose father, stepfather, brother and stepbrother all served overseas, knows all about the sacrifice made by not only the men and women in uniform but the loved ones awaiting their return.

“You quickly recognize freedom is not free,” he said. “What (we) have every day is because … they and others have served.”

In addition to the flame, there will be an American flag adjacent to the monument and close to 1,500 pavers surrounding the site. A loved one can have a paver — either $250 or $500,  depending on the size and distance from the flame — engraved with a name of those who have served or are serving.

More than 600 pavers have already been purchased, according to Murphy.

Masonic Village is putting that money, along with donations, toward the project, which Murphy said will ultimately cost nearly $550,000.

When finished, Masonic Village will host a ceremony, most likely starting at 10:30 a.m., on Sept. 20 that will include its fair share of patriotic songs from the Bainbridge Band, veterans, American flags, lanyards with each branch of the military emblazoned on them and even a flyover by a World War II jet.

“This is going to be a special one,” Murphy said. “It’s a great opportunity to come. People get to see it firsthand.”

If a World War II jet isn’t enticing enough, the day lands on Masonic Village’s annual Autumn Day, when the campus is transformed with a carnival-type atmosphere. Family-friendly activities include music, food and drinks, face-painting and other entertainment such as jugglers and clowns.

The campus will be free and open to the public, with everyone — Mason or not — invited to pay tribute to veterans and active servicemen. The event also provides an opportunity for prospective Masonic Village residents to tour the campus.

And about that open flame …

There’s no need to worry, Murphy said.

“We made sure that … would not be an issue,” he said. “We believe that it will be safe.”