The North Carolina Mason

November/December 2021

North Carolina Mason

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Page 14 The North Carolina Mason November/December 2021 By Beth Grace Mason Editor ROANOKE RAPIDS – History truly repeated itself on a sunny fall afternoon as NC Masons gathered for the second time in 100 years to dedicate a cornerstone. In 1921, amidst a flu pandemic, residents of Roanoke Rapids gathered – probably keeping some social distance – to dedicate the cornerstone of their local high school and seal a time capsule inside the stone. North Carolina's Freemasons were there to conduct the corner- stone ceremony, led by Grand Master James C. Braswell. On a crisp Saturday in October 2021, NC Freemasons were at the school again, gathered with masked residents and dignitaries, to rededicate the cornerstone and unseal the time capsule – and the keepsakes within. After opening Grand Lodge in a nearby building, brethren wearing dark suits, white gloves and aprons, processed down the street to the cornerstone. As he opened the ceremony, Grand Master R. David Wicker Jr. told the large crowd gathered outside the school that the brothers were conducting the exact same ceremony today as they did 100 years earlier. During the ceremony, brothers ascertained that the cornerstone was found to be square, level and plumb. "I therefore declare the stone to be well-formed, true and trusty and correctly laid," MW Wicker said. e elements of consecration – corn, an emblem of plenty; wine, an emblem of joy and gladness; and oil, an emblem of peace – were scattered and poured. Later, Grand Secretary Jonathan Underwood gingerly removed items from the time capsule. Most were intact, while some of the paper items were worn with time. Inside the time capsule: an article from the local paper about the 1921 cornerstone dedica- tion – which ran next to a story about how the Roanoke Valley was still fighting the Spanish flu pandemic. Also found inside was a 1920 copper penny, a 1921 Bible, a 1915 Masonic code book. Returned to the time capsule was the 1921 Bible. New keep- sakes added included: a Roanoke Rapids High School facemask, a ticket to this year's 100th commencement in May, an RRHS keychain, a commemo- rative edition of the Roanoke Rapids Herald, a ceremony program, photographs, letters written for the occasion, a 2021 penny, a 1921 and a 2021 silver dollar, an RRHS mug, a pin from Grand Master R. David Wicker Jr., a Masonic ceremony book, and pin commemorating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the provincial grand lodge. Widow's Son #519 partici- pated in the 1921 dedication and assisted in the rededication. Cornerstone ceremonies are few and far between in modern times. is was the first of two such ceremonies scheduled for NC Masons in recent weeks. e second was held in November, marking progress of work on the expansion at WhiteStone: A Masonic and Eastern Star Community. (See separate item in this issue) ' e Cra smen have performed their duty' at Roanoke Rapids HS REDEDICATION: Above, Grand Master R. David Wicker and Grand Secretary Jonathan Under- wood conduct a ceremony rededicating Roanoke Rap- ids High School's 100-year- old cornerstone. Right, NC Freemasons process to the cornerstone after opening lodge in a nearby building. Dozens of areas residents gathered for the ceremony and heard from dignitar- ies from around the state. For many, it was the first time they ever witnessed a Masonic cornerstone cer- emony. (Photos by Beth Grace)

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