The 225th Anniversary of the Chartering of Potomac Lodge No. 5 occurred this year on April 19th. To celebrate this august event, the Lodge hosted an anniversary gala on Saturday, September 20th. The event was held at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA. Every member of the Lodge was invited, along with their families and friends, to this black tie affair. I am glad to report that the celebration was a wonderful success with a turnout of over 120 guests.
Tours of the Memorial were offered free of charge to our guests from 4:30pm to 6pm. The Gala officially started at 6pm with a cocktail hour in the Memorial Hall, where the bronze statue of Washington in full Masonic regalia stood over and watched.
Guests were then seated in the Memorial’s main theater and were treated to a 30 minute video presentation on the history of Potomac given by Bro. Andy Highfill. Incorporating historical images, video, and audio, the narrative and visual presentation was a highlight of the night.
Finally, we preceded into the Grand Hall for a 3-course meal. Guests were entertained by a live swing band and by their current Master, Curtis Bateman, who served as the night’s emcee. Potomac’s original Charter of 1789 and the Washington Gavel from 1793 were both prominently displayed on the head table.
Recognitions were given to the Anniversary Gala Committee, to the GWNM Memorial, to our widows, DSA recipients, Officers of Potomac, Past Masters, Grand Lodge Officers, Past Grand Masters (4 of the 5 were Past Masters of Potomac), the Grand Masters of DC and Maryland, and finally to our loved ones in the audience.
Several presentations and gifts were handed out during the night. These included a gift for Potomac’s custodian who retired after 25 years of wonderful service, a plaque for “Curmudgeon’s Corner,” a donation of an Anniversary Ribbon made for Potomac’s 100th Anniversary in 1889, and an Honorary Potomac Membership Certificate for George Seghers, the Director of the Memorial. A commemorative coin and mug were also given to every attendee of the event.
Toward the end of the night, a presentation was made by RWB and celebrated Past Master of Potomac, Dean Clatterbuck. On the stops behind his podium were unveiled 5 bronze plaques, each an exact copy of the 5 pages of the U.S. Constitution. They were crafted and purchased by Potomac in 1989 in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of their signing. However, they remained in the Memorial for the past 25 years having never made the trip to Georgetown to be deposited in the Lodge. And so, Bro. Clatterbuck spearheaded an effort to have them finally returned and what a wonderful time to do it: the 225th Anniversary of both Potomac and the Constitution.
Next, WB Durak introduced our delegation visiting from our first twinned Lodge. Last fall, members of Potomac Lodge visited the West African country of Gabon to attend their Grand Lodge’s 30th Anniversary and to twin with George Washington Lodge No. 21. As a continuation of this esteemed relationship, members from GW 21 and the Grand Lodge attended our gala and presented several beautiful gifts.
To finish the night, WB Bateman gave a toast to Potomac and then invited MWB Piepiora, Grand Master of Maryland, and MWB Fezzell, Grand Master of D, to give brief remarks.
It was an inspirational night for all who attended, and a call to action to continue the great legacy of Potomac Lodge for the next 225 years.