Independance Day and Freemasonry

Not that I believe many of my brothers need a history lesson, but I do believe that some may need to be reminded, if not the public at large. We tend to lean heavily on our famous members of the Craft when we speak to other men about Freemasonry, especially a man interested in the Craft. It almost predictable the conversation quickly turns to a listing of famous members, most long gone to that celestial lodge above. Invariably the founding fathers are particularly emphasized.

Why not? These men created a new nation, something never seen before. Although not perfect, probably the best form of government ever devised in the annals of all civilization. The beauty of the system is that it is not static and can evolve and improve. Those same founding fathers were insistent that the framework in which they labored over for years, be flexible and malleable enough to adapt to human civil society as society changed. We know from what has come before, that it does change, although slowly sometimes and then sometime radically.

So, what could have driven these men. Had they been unsuccessful they would have lost all, including their lives, in taking on at was at that time the most powerful military in the world. As we know many were Freemasons, not all, probably not even a plurality. One cannot deny the influence of our Brothers was there, there in the writing of the Declaration of Independance, the Constitution and many of our founding documents. If we look at a portion of the Declaration of Independance, it seems evident to me that if not directly Masonic, definitely influenced but Freemason ideology.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

The Declaration goes on from here basically as hate mail to King George III, as it then goes on to list his injustices, “usurpations” and abuses, at least as the colonists saw it. In essence these “cheeky” men were challenging the most powerful nation on the planet to a duel. The above paragraph is the idea that governments and rulers do not have a God given right to govern as was well thought and established in Europe and most of the world at that time. No in fact the governed gave that right to the ruler and could remove that ruler if they so choose. This was the radical idea that turn hundreds and hundreds of years of history and tradition on its head. These men that we see in paintings as so astute and stoic, were indeed rebels, radical rebels at that. They did not believe in anarchy and new there had to be a ruling government, however this government should be chosen by the people. They knew that the government needed to be established and ready to go if they happen to succeed and break free of what they deemed


Its and established fact that out of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independance, 14 were known Freemasons. Although it’s principal author, Thomas Jefferson, was not. The audacity and bravado of these men in retrospect is on full display if you look that the signatures. The most prominent is that of John Hancock. Hancock was the President of the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776, and as such was the first to sign the document. His signature stands out from the rest as it was rumored that Hancock when asked about this said that he signed it so that King George could read his signature without spectacles. Indeed, Hancock could be counted as the nation’s first President. It was also rumored that a bounty was placed on Hancock’s head when the document reached the British government.

Other prominent Freemasons of course played pivotal role in forming and shaping the newly founded United States of America. So, July 4th is the date that was chosen to celebrate the country’s independence. But the Declaration was just the opening act, it took 7 long years until the treaty of Paris was signed and the British empire recognized American independence. September 3, 1783, to be precise. So why July 4th? In effect we are actually celebrating the opening act of rebellion, not actual independence. So, Independence Day should be “Declaring Independence Day”. I imagine this would be too long to use as a salutation on July 4th, so shortened to Happy Independance Day.

Either way this is a day for all Americans to come together to show pride in the nation that has endured and grown through the centuries. As we gather in backyard and parks to BBQ and enjoy the day with friends and family, always consider the sacrifices made by those that came before us to secure those freedoms and liberties.

Happy Independance Day to all!

Brothers and friends,

Happy Independance Day! As we celebrate the birth of our nation this July 4th, please take a moment to remember all those who conceived of and brought forth this great nation. The sacrifices made and lives lost in achieving our independence.  Enjoy the festivities and always give thanks to the brave men and woman who built this country.

In just a few weeks we will be having out Lodge BBQ and just before that, a Summoned Communication of Riverhead and Peconic Lodges jointly. The Communiation will commence at 10 am and the BBQ will kick off at 12 noon. Hopefully we’ll have a lot to celebrate as our two lodges come together in unity.

I am looking forward to seeing many members of both lodge and their families at the BBQ and enjoying the day.

From the South July 2024

Hi Brothers, I would like to congratulate all the appointed and elected officers of Smithtown Lodge. As a retread Junior Warden, I ‘m planning some unique culinary delights for this year. I know, it will be a tuff act to follow trying to out cook Ed and our New Master Bill when they were Junior Wardens. But, I will give it a hell of a try. As Junior Warden and with approval of Worshipful Bill Hanson, I would like to have a few training meetings at lodge this year to go over the Marshal’s floor work for upcoming degrees. I will still be working with W:. Frank Ida carrying out our North Star duties and we both will be mentoring all new candidates applying for membership to Smithtown Lodge. As V:. W:. I will be doing a lot of traveling with in the district and any Brother(s) from our lodge are welcome to travel with me if they would care too. I will say, that I will not miss any of Smithtown’s meeting’s as part of my new A.G.L. position. My first a foremost duty is to our Blue lodge and I will the there too for fill my elected duty as your Junior Warden. During this Masonic year, I’m sill planning to visit my sister down in Florida a few times but, I will schedule my tips around Blue lodge meetings. That said, have great summer my Brothers and will see you guy’s at some of a summer events.


Stu Smith J. W.

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From the West July 2024

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Brothers who have enjoyed the menu while in the South. As we move forward to the West, I am excited for the upcoming year.
Although we won’t have regular communications, we will still host a Cigar and Bourbon Barbecue. Additionally, I hope to organize another form of a unity event.
Senior Warden,
Edward Matuszak

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From the East July 2024


I am deeply honored to have been installed as the Master of our Lodge, and I look forward to leading us through a year of growth, fellowship, and Masonic enlightenment. As we embark on this new chapter together, I am deeply mindful of the profound responsibilities entrusted to me as your Master. I am committed to upholding the values and traditions of Freemasonry and our Lodge, and I am grateful for the support of each one of you in our journey ahead.

The Spirit of Independence

As we approach the celebration of Independence Day, it is fitting to reflect on the profound connection between Freemasonry and the birth of our nation. Many of the Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock, were Freemasons. Their Masonic values of liberty, equality, and fraternity greatly influenced the principles upon which the United States was founded.

One particularly poignant story is that of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The room was filled with tension and uncertainty, as the act of signing this document was an act of treason against the British Crown. John Hancock, a prominent Freemason, was the first to sign. He boldly wrote his name in large, clear letters, declaring that he wanted King George to be able to read it without his spectacles. His bravery and commitment to the cause of freedom exemplify the Masonic virtues of courage and integrity.

As we celebrate this July 4th, let us remember the contributions of our Masonic brethren to the founding of our nation. Let their example inspire us to live by our Masonic principles and to strive for a more just and equitable society.

Final Thoughts:

Brethren, as we gather to celebrate our nation’s independence and continue our Masonic journey together, let us renew our commitment to our values and to each other. I look forward to seeing you all at our upcoming events and working together to make this a memorable and successful year for our Lodge.

Fraternally yours,

William Hanson Worshipful Master

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The Master’s Installation Address

Brothers I wanted to share the address with all of you in case you could not attend the Installation of Officers of Riverhead Lodge #645 on June 18, 2024. I hope this message finds you well and ready to enjoy the Brotherhood and Fraternity. Please look to the calendar and the Riverhead Lodge BAND for all the latest happenings at the Lodge.

June 18, 2024


Distinguished East, Brethren All, good evening,


Tonight, I stand before you enormously proud to be your Worshipful Master and I thank the Brethren of the Riverhead Lodge for entrusting me with the Mastership. I think we all know that there’s a weight of responsibility that comes with the office and over the last few weeks that responsibility has been weighing on my mind and I sometimes find my feelings bouncing from elation to trepidation and I expect they’ll probably find an equilibrium somewhere in the middle as the year progresses.


Considering that I have been in the East 3 times previously to tonight, I still have this nagging feeling of not being quite ready for this. I can say that I will always look to the Past Masters of Riverhead Lodge for advice and guidance. They are the ones who know what they’re doing – the really distinguished practitioners of the arts and mysteries of Masonry, some of you, more of a mystery than others.


First, I want to thank the Immediate Past Master, W:. Bro Bobby Abel. You presided over a great term in the East last year with your all your efforts. W:. Abel will certainly understand when I say, he ran a tight ship.  Thank you so much for all the hard work you put in and it was such a pleasure watching your commanding performance. It is Brothers like W:. Abel that are truly the reason Riverhead Lodge is such a strong and well-respected Lodge.


To my officers this year, whom I’ve already thanked for taking up their offices, all I can say is that I could not want a better band of brothers. I know that each of you is equally committed to doing well and supporting each other. That makes it so much easier for me; I have only to settle back and relax into an enjoyable routine. A big thanks again from me to all my officers this year. A special word of thanks to Bro. Dominic (the younger & elder) and Bro. Pete for the wonderful meal this evening.



So, who am I in this stage of Masonic career?

Having spoken about the Lodge, I come back to the question of what this point in Masonry means for me. Well, practically everything I know and have experienced about Masonry has been shaped and molded by the Brethren of two Lodges, both Potunk and Riverhead, many from both Lodges are here with us today. So, Brethren what I know, I know from you and what brought me to you was at first a curiosity, then growing interest and then a fraternal bond of brotherhood based on our shared values of goodness and decency. Just as my mother brought me into this world, so my mother lodge, Potunk Lodge, and by means of adoption, Riverhead Lodge has welcomed me into the fellowship of brothers who strive to do good and be good in their endeavors. Those who know me will understand the adoption reference.


Masonry has changed me for the better, which means that you’ve changed me. That we learn a great deal from each other is something I’ve come to appreciate more and more. The universality of Freemasonry is surely embodied in the fact that our learning inside a lodge never stops. From a practical perspective I’ve also come to know that the same conduct we follow and apply inside our Lodge can also be applied in the profane world outside the lodge. Trying to make my dealings with others level and square gives me a frame of reference which my involvement in Masonry continually reinforces.


But we are not here only for the purpose of socializing and enjoying each other’s company. We believe in doing what we can to promote and support the charitable purposes of the Lodge. Our charity this year will continue to benefit many, like the clients of Maureen’s Haven and others.  I know that the Brethren, within their means, have already given generously and will continue with their time, talents and treasure.

Social Events

Let’s turn to what we’ve got planned for the coming year. I’d really like to extend my thanks to all of you who have been involved in the planning. As usual, our W:. Bro. Dominick, assisted by other officers, has kindly taken the lead and already set up some events. We have our Christmas brunch with Santa. We also have our Lodge BBQ and the tri-Lodge Pig Roast, led by W:. Mike Sokel, which have always proved a popular success in past years. And the event I’m particularly looking forward to is a potential Robbie Burns Night and feast/festive board which is being planned tentatively for January next year. There will be other events in the offing. As you may have heard me say, I can’t stand group texts so please watch the Riverhead Band for updates.



Inviting members to become more active

One last thing, Brethren. I want to also thank our brothers of Peconic Lodge, soon to be members of Riverhead Lodge, for all that they do and are doing for Riverhead Lodge and its beautification. I am looking forward to seeing how the Lodge room looks in a few months.

This reminds me of something. I remember a Masonic Temple that had some structural damage after a bad storm. The lodge was forced to rent conference room space at a local hotel and banquet hall to hold their stated communications in. About 4 months later a man was checking into the hotel while the Lodge was holding one such meeting.

He asked the clerk, “What’s going on with the guy in a tux with a sword?”

The clerk told him, “The Masons are renting the room to hold their meeting while their building is being repaired.”

The man responded, “Masons…I’ve heard of them. Aren’t they hard to join?”

The clerk responded, “They must be. That guy has been knocking on the door for the past 4 months, and they still haven’t let him in.”


Concluding remarks

In concluding this address, I wish to give my personal thanks to all the Brethren who have brought me into Masonry, encouraged me along the way and helped me in reaching the chair, even if it’s for the 4th time, but who’s counting right? If I mess up during this year – and I’m bound to say something either out of turn or crass – forgive me in advance. If I somehow mess up the lodge workings, I know you will continue encouraging me, whilst whispering wise council, pointing me in the right direction. Kind of like that fourth “point” of a circle.


My wish for the year

Finally, my Brothers my wish for this year. Let our Lodge be a lodge that shines its Light as does that bright Morning Star that rises in the East and brings us peace and whose warmth will undoubtedly preserve the harmony of our Lodge. May we come together as a true band of Brothers and when we return to the quarries in September, hit the ground running.

4th Annual BBQ, Cigar and Whisky Event

Join us on June 15 for our 4th Annual BBQ, Cigar and Whisky Event

Event Starts at 3:00PM

For information pleas email us at


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From the South May 2024


From the South,

I’m honored to be a part of the rededication for the “Smithtown Lodge”. Seeing the Grand Line attending was amazing.

Its election time the year again Wow how it went so fast. Hope everyone enjoyed the past years collation menu, and will continue to contribute to the appetites of the Brothers.


Junior Warden Edward Matuszak

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Tri Lodge Fishing Trip!

Bro. John Umina is coordinating a Tri-Lodge fishing trip for members of Potunk, Riverhead and Peconic Lodges. This should be a fun and exciting day on the water fishing with Brothers.

We’ll be leaving the dock at about 1 PM and returning about 4 PM. Coffee, soft drinks and lunch will be included as well as all needed tackle. if you prefer another beverage, it’s BYOB.

Please see the events link to RSVP to this event or contact Bro. John Umina. Its first come first serve for the 40 slots available.

Events for March 2024 – Potunk Lodge #1071

Smithtown Lodge 75th Anniversary Celibration


Greetings.  Our 75thDiamond Jubilee anniversary will be celebrated with a re-dedication of our Lodge by Grand Lodge on April 20. 2:00


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