As the Fourth of July approaches, it seems fitting to reflect upon one of the major patriotic architectural structures in the United States, the Statue of Liberty. This representation of Freedom was designed and constructed by a Frenchman by the name of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. A number of the French sponsors, as well as Bartholdi himself, were freemasons. As Bartholdi built the statue, he actually assembled it in Paris where he worked. After doing so, he showed it to his Masonic friends of Lodge Alsace Lorraine in Paris and delivered a lecture and gave the Lodge a report on its creation.
While Bartholdi was constructing the statue in Paris, the pedestal, upon which the statue rests today, was being constructed in this country where it now stands. On a very rainy day, August 5, 1884, a cornerstone dedication was conducted by the Grand Lodge of New York. At the dedication, the Most Worshipful Grand Master posed this question: “Why call upon the Masonic Fraternity to lay the cornerstone of such a structure as is here to be erected?” He responded to his own question with: “No institution has done more to promote liberty and to free men from the trammels and claims of ignorance and tyranny than has Freemasonry.” Finally, the statue joined the pedestal with a dedication ceremony held October 28, 1886.
Yes, Freemasons everywhere can well be proud of the key role played by the Craft in the inception and erection of this great memorial, and each of us should renew his vows and obligations to spread further the light of freedom, truth, tolerance, and justice which the Statue of Liberty so grandly symbolizes.