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tv   U.S. Capitol Cornerstone 225th Anniversary  CSPAN  November 22, 2018 3:30pm-4:23pm EST

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police building for transport to the jail and then in full sight of millions of television viewers, a man named jack ruby surges through the crowd and shoots lee oswald dead. >> watch real america saturday night at 10:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> on september 18, 1793, free masons including president george washington placed the cornerstone for the u.s. capitol building in a masonic virtual that included corn, oil and wine. next, the u.s. capitol historical society hosts the ceremonial re-enactment in honor of the 225th anniversary. this is about 50 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of the colors by the color guard and the performance of the national anthem by the army brass quintet.
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>> colors halt. present arms. ♪ ♪ [ "star-spangled banner" ]
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[ "star-spangled banner" ]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing as the chaplain of the united states senate dr. barry c. black gives the invocation. >> let us pray. eternal god, you are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains we honor your sovereign name. you have been a shield for our nation through the centuries,
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enabling it to be a beacon for freedom. lord, we are grateful for this opportunity to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the united states capitol building. when the cornerstone was laid in the 13th year of american independence and during the second term of president george washington, few would have predicted, oh, god, how greatly you would bless this land we love. you have done for america immeasurably, abundantly, above all what we could ask or imagined and you have brought us
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through many dangers, toils and snares. as we celebrate today, remind us that godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people bless now this ceremony of celebration with the gift of your divine presence and may the words of our mouths and our hearts be pleasing to you o god, our rock and our redeemer. amen. >> please be seated.
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ladies and gentlemen, the architect of the capitol, the honorable stephen t. ayers. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the united states' capitol. we are delighted to have you here this evening to celebrate a monumental occasion, the 225th anniversary of the laying of the capitol cornerstone. our culture is rich in tradition of celebration. we stop and celebrate at least for a moment what we're about to do and what we've done. we bring out the shiny new shovel that groundbreaking ceremonies. we mark the cornerstone with an
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engraved silver plate and when the work is done, we have a ribbon cutting ceremony to complete or signal the completion of our work and these are important and appropriate markers of time and history in the making. it's these celebrations that make history come alive for us. for the past 225 years, the united states capitol has been a work in progress and it continues to be today. as the country and the congress grew and evolved, so did the capitol, and while the construction approved by george washington himself was begun in 1793, many changes have taken
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place to this very day. the house and senate extensions were added. the larger cast-iron and iconic dome reflects the changing scale of the building. the addition of the east front and the new west front terraces and terrace infill and of course the capitol visitor center from 2008, and that doesn't even include the myriad of changes that the architect of the capital has undertaken to make this building more energy efficient and accessible, secure and to bring in modern technology. e pluribus unum, out of many, one. you can find this latin phrase in the senate chamber on the panel behind the vice
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president's chair. it speaks to the high ideals and the nation's efforts to achieve them, but it's also a fitting way to talk about this capitol building itself, and most importantly, the many workers, artists, laborers, architects and engineers who created one great, national landmark, our great symbol of democracy. as the 11th architect of the capitol, it is my great honor to have the responsibility to care for and to preserve this building, its historic fabric and its works of art and to provide the congress a place to do the business of our democracy every day, and so as we stop to celebrate this moment, this
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marker of time. 225 years after the laying of the cornerstone, i keenly feel a sense of gratitude to those who have and will continue to contribute their amazing talent to creating and caring for america's great symbol of democracy. so let's honor all of their hands that went into this great work and the making of this great building this evening. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states representative from the 8th district of maryland, the honorable jamie raskin. >> thank you very much. the dikdary tells us that the cornerstone is a stone
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representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a building usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies and it usually means it's a secondary definition, it's essential, indispensable and basic and there's another definition which is the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. it's a remarkable pleasure for me to be here in the physical cornerstone of the capitol on this 225th anniversary. we honor the only the laborers and both the free masons and the slaves and the engineers and the painters and the workers who built this capitol. we honor also the essential and dispensable and basic instruments of government and the congress of the united states which is the representative body of we, the people, which is housed in this extraordinary structure and we honor also the philosophical cornerstone of american
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democracy which is our constitution and our bill of rights. in his farewell address, george washington invited us to place our patriotic love of freedom first, the love of liberty, he said is interwoven with every ligament of your hearts and the unity of government which protects your liberty and constitutes you as one people is now also dear to every one of you. he insisted that we put aside partisan and sectional feeling so that our union and brotherly affections may be perpetual and so that the free constitution which is also the work of your hands may be sacredly maintained. this cornerstone love of liberty is so powerful that it transforms the country that washington helped bring into being. we know that the government relied partly on slave labor to do some of the work that it took to construct its capitol building, but the spirit of
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freedom embodied in the declaration of independence and our constitutional and the spirit that has always been alive in the hearts of our people wiped out slavery and enabled us to create the path to an even more perfect union. what an honor for all of us this evening to be a part of this continuing great experiment of fred freedom and democratic government and thank you all for joining us to remember our cornerstone. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states representative from the 11th district of virginia, the honorable gerald e. connelly. >> good evening and thank you to the marine band. wonderful. today we gather in this very special place, the hall of liberty, a beacon of hope around
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the world, the symbol of our country, but the symbol of liberty for everybody. 225 years ago george washington came here with the masonic grand master joseph clark to lay this cornerstone. subsequently, he chaired the committee to give us the equivalent of the capitol william thornton, an immigrant. one of two immigrants who put his imprint on this building and the other being constantino who did much of the art, that they love this country as much as anybody else and can express american values and stories as well as anybody because of their love of their adoptive country, something we can remind ourselves of today. the history in this place. the british came in 1814 and burned it.
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the fire was so hot that the skylights thomas jefferson wanted so desperately in the capitol melted. a lot of talk after the burning that maybe we should relocate the capitol help madison and james monroe, his successor would have none of it. this would be rebuilt, and by 1818 we were back in business. there were other heroes and lots of other history. three men, thomas walter and captain montgomery megs and a surprise, a senator named jefferson davis were responsible for making sure the appropriations were there to expand the building to what it is pretty much now today. thomas -- i'm sorry, jefferson davis, a surprise, but he was passionate about building this building and expanding it. where we are today, the original house chamber had terrible
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acoustics and so they had to grow with the growing country. abraham lincoln and the congress during that time period during the civil war who insisted on the completion of the dome. there were lots of penny pinchers in the congress back then, too. why were we spending money on this frivolous venture when our men in the field needed blankets and guns? we were fighting for our lives in the civil war. part of the civil war, there were famous instances here. the great brawl of 1858 when 30 members of the house broke into firsta cuffs over the illegal con sthugz declared kansas' slave state. it was an arbiter of things to come. violence broke out in the people's house, and in the senate it wasn't immune either. a member of the south carolina
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house -- well, a member of the house of south carolina went over and cane, senator sumner of massachusetts almost to death in his seat in the u.s. senate. thank god we don't do that anymore, senator. [ laughter ] it also was an arbiter of things to come, dreadful things to come, but abraham lincoln and the congresses of that time understood the symbolism of fin i ishing the capitol. if you look at a picture of abraham lincoln in 1861, the dome is not there, four years later in his second inauguration, you can see the picture, the dome has been completed because he knew that even though the struggle was existential and no one knew the outcome we had to prepare for the future and that's the second
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story of this place, trying to see beyond the years as the great anthem says and think about the future. the future generation of americans. future generations all over the world and what we have to say to them. will this place live up to its legacy? one of the great men of this place who doesn't get enough credit, john quincy adams. he'd been president of the united states and after he stepped down in a not particularly notable presidency, the people asked him to stand for the people's house to represent them here in the house of representatives. he thought about it and he served here with distinction as a cantankerous old man and the
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right of the people to petition the congress. he was censored for it and for 15 years the house would not hear petitions against slavery. ultimately, he prevailed. he led the trial on behalf of the mute ineers rate down the hall in the old supreme court where the terrible dread scott decision was rendered and john quincy adam his a rare victory against slavery in the case all right here in this building. let's hope, as we celebrate this great occasion that we will all do honor to the memories, that we will rectify the wrongs and pick the rights to champion that this place will always live up, ultimately, to the beacon of hope it represents not only for our people, but for those
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struggling for liberty and freedom around the world because that is what the cornerstone ultimately came to symbolize and that's to symbolize, and that's what imbues our lives and inspires those of us who serve here. thank you so much for being here today on this great anniversary. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from wyoming, the honorable michael b. enzi. >> brothers and friends, i've been a master mason for over 50 years and this will be -- [ applause ] >> thank you. this will be one of my biggest
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historical memories, the 225th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. i was mayor of gillette, wyoming, when we got to build a new city hall, and i asked the masons to come and dedicate that building. the masons only dedicate public buildings and masonic temples. it's a very interesting ceremony, a very moving ceremony. later on this month, i'm going to get to attend the 150th anniversary of cheyenne lodge number one, which was the if first lodge in wyoming. i was kind of interested that the first masonic document in england was in 1340, but the first organized minutes of masonry didn't start until 1733. -- 1717. but in boston it started in
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1733. we're only 16 years behind the brits when we were about to leave the brits. it's also interesting that even in that short span of time that 13 signers of the constitution were masons. and now 14 u.s. presidents have been masons. why are -- why are there -- there would be more masons if masons tried to recruit masons. that's not what the organization is about. what we're about is finding good men and making men better. but you have to ask to join. and be a part of the lessons that this teaches, some of which you'll get a taste for today, as we do the re-enactment of the event that happened 225 years ago, for which they're still trying to find the original
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cornerstone because of all the construction that you've already heard about. but pay attention to the words of the lessons that will be taught today. they're a sample of the lessons that are taught in masonry, to make good men better men. thank you. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, chair of the u.s. capitol historical society, board of trustees, donald g. carlson. >> on behalf of the capitol historical society, i want to welcome you tonight to this historic building and this historic chamber. the capitol historical society was chattered by congress to educate the public on the history and heritage of the united states, its capitol, its institution and the people who have served therein.
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it has been our great honor to work to fulfill that mission and we're grateful particularly tonight for senator ron wyden and his staff for including us in the program tonight. when president george washington set trowel to cornerstone on capitol, he was not merely planting another edifice on the landscape, he was committing the federal government's scarce resources to the largest public works project to date. in order to give physical representation and expression to the constitution's idea of a representative democracy. by 1793, that idea had withstood the test of only four years' time, but the following 225 years had paid untold dividends upon that initial investment in stone and mortar.
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those of us who have spent a large part of their lives in these hallowed halls share a special affinity for this building and for all of which it stands. and visiting before the ceremony, i was always happy to find out that many people -- for many people here tonight it's the first time they've been in this building and in so many cases the first time they've been here since their high school trip when they were in elementary and grade school and high school. every time we see new people here it is rewarding to us to share everything that this building stands for. we gather tonight to celebrate another important milestone in the evolution of our democratic institutions. once again, i welcome you and look forward to you enjoying this building as much as those
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of us who have worked here have done. thank you. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, the executive director of the fred w. smith national library for the study of george washington at mount vernon, dr. kevin butterfield. >> thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of george washington's mount vernon, the mount vernon ladies association on this remarkable occasion. the commemoration of an important event in our nation's capital's history and our nation's history. as the executive director of george washington's presidential library, i'm thrilled to be here and excited to witness a ceremonial re-enactment of the laying of the cornerstone, the foundation of the foundation. on the building that houses the representatives of the american people. on september 18th, 1793, george washington, a man already long-known as the father of his
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country presided over this event with great hopes for what the capitol would become. when washington and others marched to the future site of the capitol to lay its southeast cornerstone in september of 1793, they knew it was important, and like many americans they believed precisely because free masonry symbolized and even helped to instill self-less virtue, moralality, equality and, of course, brotherhood, it could provide the right kind of sacred foundation for what this building would become. president washington came here from his home in mount vernon because he knew his presence would help to lend gravity and significance to an already important occasion. i'm sure he wanted to see it, to witness this transformational moment in government. this was the one time in his life when he would help to dedicate a cornerstone. but this is important, and i'm speaking as a historian now. this was not some quiet
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picturesque celebratory moment in our nation's history. they had great faith and confidence in the american public experiment, they also no doubt had real fierce about tea future of the nation, particularly in 1793. the latter half of 1793 saw washington and his administration struggling to maintain the neutrality of the united states as europe's two greatest powers, great britain and revolutionary france, fought one another on land and sea. the young united states risked being caught up in the whirlwind of war. that wasn't all. refugees fleeing the rebellions of the enslaved on the island soon to be haiti were arriving to the united states in huge numbers. no one was certain that the spirit of revolution of the enslaved in the western hemisphere might not spread far and wide. many hoped that it would. many feared that it would. but uncertainty ruled the day.
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about two years earlier to give another example, the u.s. army suffered what many historians still call its worst defeat when an entire division was wiped out. more than 900 dead in a pitched the battle with a native american allies force near what is now ft. wayne, indiana. disease, too, was ravaging the capital in philadelphia. to describe the death toll in philadelphia from yellow fever. probably 100 a day every day. washington had come to mount vernon just days before acutely aware of a public health crisis facing the nation. and perhaps most important of all, the united states was becoming increasingly divided by partisan politics. what were called democratic republican societies began to appear in cities and rural communities around the nation, and this was new. they would form the nucleus of a formal concerted opposition party, a two-party system, something that frightened many
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people, including washington, that division and faction would weaken, maybe even destroy the young republic. that party polarization might just tear the nation in two. in the midst of all of this, perhaps because of all of this, washington wanted to be a part of a ceremony dedicating this building as the home of the voice of the american people. the ceremony of laying and dedicating cornerstones has been employed by free masons for centuries, but this one for george washington in 1793 and for us today was especially important. a version of what you're about to see was used to lay the original cornerstones of the u.s. capitol, the white house, the smithsonian, as well as countless other buildings throughout the country and around the world. the following ceremony has been written specifically for this anniversary and is based on the original ceremony that was used 225 years ago. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> we hear a symbol in the presence of the great architect of the universe for the purpose of symbolically laying the cornerstone of this magnificent edifice, which has served as the very point within the circle of all democracy for 2 1/4 centuries. we as masons are determined to implore his aid in all of our lastab lastable undertakings. as we invoke his blessing on our work. >> grand architect and rumor of
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the universe, pour down thy blessings upon us as we take up the working tools and set our gentle craft to labor. may our work thus fun in thy name be continued to thy glory and establish with us all obedience to thy devine presence. amen. >> the trowel is symbolically used to unite this building into one common mass. we use it now as the symbol which unites all of mankind in one family, between the twin pillars of freedom and democracy. excuse me.
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the officers will set the stone. >> the stone has been symbolically set and i now present the square, the level and the plum, the implements of the craft by which we will ascertain that this stone is
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well-formed, true and trusty. >> right worshipful brother, deputy grandmaster, what is the proper implement of your office and what are its moral and masonic uses. >> the square, most worshipful, it is used to square our action by the square virtue and to prove our work. >> apply the implement of your office and make your report. >> most worshipful, i find the stone to be square. the craftsmen have done their duty. thank you.
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>> worshipful brother senior grand warden, what is the proper implement of your office and what are its moral and masonic uses? >> the level, most worshipful. morally it reminds us of equality and is used to prove horizontals. >> apply the implements of your office and make your report. >> most worshipful, i find the stone to be leveled. the craftsmen have performed their duty. >> thank you. rightful worshipful brother junior grand warden, what is the proper implement of your office and what are its moral and masonic uses. >> the plum, most worshipful. >> apply the implement of your office and make your report.
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>> the plum, most worshipful -- the craftsmen has been called -- >> the cornerstone has been tested by the proper implements of masonry and i therefore declare it to be well-formed, true and trusty and correctly placed, according to the rules of our ancient craft. it has been the custom since time in memorial to dedicate the cornerstone with corn, wine and oil. we present them now in the name of the great architect of the universe to invoke his continued blessing, which he has bestowed
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upon our country and its people. >> most worshipful, we pour this corn as an emblem of nourishment. may it serve as a symbol of nourishment for all of humanity. >> most worshipful, we pour this wine as an emblem of refreshe . refreshment. may the giver of every blessing prosper all our laudable undertakings. >> most worshipful, we pour this oil as an emblem of joy. may peace, love, happiness transcend this, our great land.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> the ceremony of laying a cornerstone has been passed down to us from time in memorial. it is symbolic of that spiritual building which each one of us is engaged in erecting during the course of our natural lives. may the great ruler of the universe continue to bless and cons cra consecrate, and may he continue to bless us as we erect our spiritual building, the chief foundation stone of which may always be well-formed, true and trusty.
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ladies and gentlemen, the
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most worshipful grandmaster of the grand lodge of free and accepted masons of the district of columbia, richard j. bautista. >> thank you. good evening, ladies and gentlemen. sorry i didn't say good evening before but the ceremony had to be done properly and i was told you have to be on cue. in looking forward to this evening, i couldn't help but imagine what it would have been like to have attended the original ceremony. the actual laying of the u.s. capitol cornerstone 225 years ago this very day. it must have been an impressive sight to behold. newspaper reporting on the events of that auspicious day going to exhaustive details about how, beginning at 10:00 in the morning, his excellency, president washington, was
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formally escorted by his masonic brethren from virginia across potomac river, for then he was greeted and joined by the maryland masons to beating military bands playing, colors flying and spectators rejoicing. the great procession slowly but steady advanced to the center of the newly-founded city to where we stand today. the very spot where this magnificent structure will soon be erected. the same newspaper that reported on the procession and the cornerstone ceremony went to describe how the entire assembly, then retired to feast on a 500-pound barbecue ox. think about it, 500 pounds of
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barbecue and no wet naps. apparently the celebration continued the whole day before finally ending with 15 successive rounds from the artillery. what a party, huh? just imagine if we tried to re-enact a similar procession today. would we cross the river in boats as our forefathers did or would we just march across the 14th street bridge or maybe memorial bridge? i guess today it could be a caravan of uber and lyft rides. think about the logistical challenges involved in trying to do something like that today. the city will size up in gridlock and there will be a lot of angry commuters. i actually did cross potomac river this evening from my home in virginia, but alas, there was
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no sound of drums, no beating of military bands playing, no colors flying. i suspect the president and brother washington would recognize today the city that bears his name. and that's a good thing. over the last 225 years, washington, d.c. went from being a swampy, backwater capital of an upstart new nation to the world-class capital of the free world. starting with this beautiful temple dedicated to the sovereignty of the people and capped by an statue representing freedom. the freemasons, they were every
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step of the way as washington evolved into the great city that it is today. it is true that freemasons are known for and are pretty good at conducting ceremonies, as you have seen it, but let's be clear about this, freemasons did much more than just simply perform the masonic cornerstone ceremonies that accompany the building of all great public edifices, monuments, memorials and many churches in this great city. much more than that, countless freemasons roll up their sleeves and play an integral part in the heavy work that needed to be done to build and realize a new formal government base of such principle as liberty and equal justice under the law. throughout it all, these masons were equipped with masonic
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tenants like virtue, diligence, brotherly love and the -- i am convinced that the so-called americ is a success, it is in large measure due to the positive influence of so many earnest, hardworking freemasons present in every branch of government and at every level of society from the earliest days of the republic. as a values-based society that focuses on the internal attributes of an individual rather than the external, the masonic fraternity has always sought to elevate the character of men by supporting each other in self-improvement and thereby helping to build a better world. this being a nation of immigrants, it is only natural that the servants of the people who work in this building, as
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well as the thousands more beyond who are employed in the business of government have over time reflected the great diversity of this international city of america itself. i'm very happy to say that it's also true with the masonic fraternity. in general -- in general and d.c. freemasonry in particular. even though the founding fathers of america, with many freemasons among them, by the way, were almost exclusively white anglo-saxon protestants. that cannot be said of the leaders of today. america, and by extension, freemasonry has been embraced by men of good character hailing from all races, religions and walks of life.
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despite some inevitable bumps in the road, i am convinced that the result is a richer america that not only endures but trumps. from the time of the founding of the republic to the present day, american freemasonry is proud of her consequential role in the promotion, formation and preservation of a more perfect union. sboe symbolized in the words of the constitution and in architecture of this magnificent u.s. capitol building. thank you everyone who made this re-enactment possible today. may this historic moment connecting us to the founding fathers of our nation be the source of inspiration and guidance to us all. i want to thank particularly to the masons of maryland, to the grandmaster of maryland, also to the masons of virginia who are
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here and is represented by the senior grand deacon. thank you guys for being here. and also to potomac lodge number five who was instrumental in making this happen, and also the other lodges the founding lodges. and to all my brethren who are here present, to my family who is here with me, and to all of you that i hope you had a great time doing this ceremony and you enjoy what we did. god bless freemasonry and god bless these united states of america. thank you. [ applause ] ladies and gentlemen, we -- [ inaudible ]
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ladies and gentlemen, please stand as the grand chaplain of the grand lodge of free and accepted masons of the district of columbia, reverend bilal m. rashid gives the benediction. >> grand architect of the universe, we pause before the closing of this beautiful ceremony to give you thanks for this country we call home and for the freedoms we enjoy. we pray that you will keep safe all who serve to keep us free. heavenly father, as freemasons, among the many beautiful lessons presented to us are the dangers posed by when tyranny and intolerance. help us each in our own way big and small to counter these
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destructive forces so that this nation founded on principles established by our founding fathers, many of whom were freemasons, may continue to shine as a beacon of hope to others. finally, o lord, guide and bless our nation's leaders who labor diligently in this house of the people that they may bring honor and glory to our country. all this we pray in your holy and precious name. amen. ladies and gentlemen, please feel free to visit room h-137 to see artifacts and displays and talk to experts before leaving. those who wish to leave may exit through the south door. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ you're watching "american history tv," only on c-span3. each week "american artifacts" takes you to museums and other historic places to learn about american history. up next we tour the americans exhibit in the national museum of the american indian here in washington, d.c., with curator cecile ga cecile g cecile -- in the pocahontas gallery we see images of the indian princess and learn how she has been used as a symbol of america's founding. >> we are standing in the central gallery of the national museum of the american indians' latest


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