Last night, a trial was held to determine if I was guilty of the Masonic offenses I was accused of.
Let me say this: I am a fourth-generation Mason. I truly wish I would have joined this fraternity at 19 rather than 49. I will admit, I was not ready emotionally and spiritually to join until when I did. Joining this fraternity is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I love it more than I love this country. The fact that I served this country for 13 years and was ready to give up my life to protect this way of life pales in comparison to what I am willing to for this fraternity.
Since my meeting with the Grand Master back in April, last night was just about the first time that I had been in lodge. Every brother greeted me with every measure of warmth, friendliness and brotherly love that they have since I became a Master Mason. I want to make it clear that I detected no animosity from any of them.
When we opened the lodge, a sense of peace and "being at home" came over me. The kind of feeling like you've spend six hard weeks away from home and twelve hours on the road to get home, then you sit down and relax in your favorite easy chair. I greatly missed that kind of calmness in my soul.
While the outcome of the trial was never in any doubt, I tried everything I could think of to blunt the result. The trial commission (three disinterested Past Masters) will have to write a recommendation and send it to the Grand Lodge who will then determine my fate. This could take a couple of weeks, I don't know.
A final note, the brother who was tasked with prosecuting me told me after the trial that if he had not been asked to prosecute, he would have defended me. This only confirmed that there was no animosity in that lodge last night.