The Forget me Not (Two Versions)
Version Number One
Such a simple little flower but packed with so much meaning. Let me share this story with you:
The Story Behind This Beloved Emblem Of The Craft in Germany
In Early 1934, soon after Hitler’s rise to power, it became evident that Freemasonry was in danger. In that same year, the “Grand Lodge of the Sun” (one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges, located in Bayreuth) realizing the grave dangers involved, adopted the little blue Forget-Me-Not flower as a substitute for the traditional square and compasses.
It was felt the flower would provide brethren with an outward means of identification while lessening the risk of possible recognition in public by the Nazis, who were engaged in wholesale confiscation of all Masonic Lodge properties.
Freemasonry went undercover, and this delicate flower assumed its role as a symbol of Masonry surviving throughout the reign of darkness. During the ensuing decade of Nazi power a little blue Forget-Me-Not flower worn in a Brother’s lapel served as one method whereby brethren could identify each other in public, and in cities and concentration camps throughout Europe. The Forget-Me-Not distinguished the lapels of countless brethren who staunchly refused to allow the symbolic Light of Masonry to be completely extinguished.
When the “Grand Lodge of the Sun” was reopened in Bayreuth in 1947, by Past Grand Master Beyer, a little pin in the shape of a Forget-Me-Not was officially adopted as the emblem of that first annual convention of the brethren who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness to rekindle the Masonic Light.
At the first Annual Convention of the new United Grand Lodge of Germany AF&AM (VGLvD), in 1948, the pin was adopted as an official Masonic emblem in honour of the thousands of valiant Brethren who carried on their Masonic work under adverse conditions.
The following year, each delegate to the Conference of Grand Masters in Washington, D.C., received one from Dr. Theodor Vogel, Grand Master of the VGLvD.
Thus did a simple flower blossom forth into a symbol of the fraternity, and become perhaps the most widely worn emblem among Freemasons in Germany; a pin presented ceremoniously to newly-made Masons in most of the Lodges of the American-Canadian Grand Lodge, AF&AM within the United Grand Lodges of Germany.
In the years since adoption, its significance world-wide has been attested to by the tens of thousands of brethren who now display it with meaningful pride.
This information has been taken from a presentation card issued by the American Canadian Grand Lodge, AF&AM within the United Grand Lodges of Germany
Submitted By Wade A. Huffman (Light of the Three Stars Lodge #936 AF&AM, Ansbach, Germany and Lancaster Lodge #57 F&AM, Lancaster, Ohio)
Having become aware of this piece of history, and having grown up during this time period, I decided to adopt this little emblem as my “personal pin” for presentation to visiting Brethren during my year as Master of my Lodge. (1998) and again during my year as Grand First Principal of the Royal Arch Grand Chapter of BC & Yukon (Can) (2012)
Since that time I have made a practice of carrying a few with me wherever I go and sharing the message of the “Universality of Man” by presenting one to new found Friends and Brothers whom I meet on my travels.
It is my intention to continue this practice, in my belief that, by our efforts in advocating & promoting the “Universality of Humankind“, we will make this world a better place to live in.
Version Number Two
Of Newfoundland and Labrador and Freemasonry world wide
This was prepared with the help of VW Barry Thom in Newfoundland, Florence Thom who supplied the Forget-me not, the website of Bro. Paul Bessell and numerous papers from the publications of the German Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research
In a German legend, God named all the plants.
When a tiny unnamed one cried out, “Forget-me-not, O Lord!” God replied, “That shall be your name.”
During exile in 1398, Henry IV adopted this flower as his symbol and retained it upon his return to England the following year.
In 15th-century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers.
Another Legend is that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. The knight picked a bunch of flowers, but because of the weight of his armour he fell into the river.
As he was drowning he threw the flowers to his loved one and shouted “Forget-me-not.”
Ladies often wore it as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love. One wonders what sort of person would take his lady love for a walk beside the river in a suit of amour but that is what legions are made of.
During World War One, on July 1st, 1916 at the battle of Beaumont Hamel, in France 733 of 801 men in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment died or were injured in battle that only lasted one hour.
It was a devastating blow to their families back home.
Prior to that day, on July 1st, 1867 the Dominion of Canada was formed but it wasn’t until 1949 that Newfoundland and Labrador entered Confederation.
Therefore July 1st, is a day of mixed emotions in Newfoundland and Labrador as it is Canada Day and is still held as a Memorial Day, not only for those lives lost in the First World War but all wars and conflicts, as well as those Canadians lost in Peace keeping missions.
After WW I the “Forget-me-not” flower was used as the symbol of Remembrance, in Newfoundland and Labrador but the Poppy slowly displaced it on July 1st as well as November 11th.
Then this year in Newfoundland and Labrador the Provincial Command of the Royal Canadian Legion met and it was agreed that there would be a return to the Forget-me-not on Memorial Day.
A member of Bay Robert’s Legion Branch # 32 was approached and asked to design a pin using silk Forget-Me-Not flowers. This was achieved and approved by Provincial Command. Legions from as far west as Goose Bay, Labrador and as far east as St. John’s all placed orders for the pin.
In a time when many things are mass produced in developing countries it is comforting to know that this pin was designed and hand crafted in Port de Grave, NL by Florence Morgan-Thom.
Florence is the wife of V.W. Barry Thom who developed our Correspondence Course and she was born in NL when this country was still under the British flag. Today she makes thousands of the pins.
In the years between World War I and World War II the blue Forget Me Not flower was a standard symbol used by most of the charitable organizations in Germany, with a very clear meaning:
“Do not forget the poor and the destitute”.
It was first introduced into German Masonry in 1926 at a meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Sun that was one of the pre-war German Grand Lodges.
By early 1934, it became evident that Freemasonry in Germany was in danger. In that same year, the Grand Lodge of the Sun realizing the grave dangers that were involved and adopted the Forget Me Not flower as a substitute for the traditional Square and Compasses.
In 1936, the Nazis started the Winterhilfswerk, which consisted of children collecting money on the streets during certain weeks in winter. All youngsters were requested to participate, and they each received about one hundred pins for them to sell. Something like the Girl Guide Cookies except the money was used for rearmament. Each winter a different pin was chosen and the pins were allowed to be worn but only during the time of the collection drive, to identify those who had already contributed.
By an extraordinary coincidence, the pin chosen by the Nazis for the collection made in 1938 happened to be the very forget-me-not pin chosen by the Freemasons in 1926 and it was made by the same factory in Selb. There is no doubt that the Freemasons who attended the meeting of 1926 were glad to wear it again twelve years later.
However it is out of question that such a pin could have been worn after the 1938 collection because the wearing of any badge which did not originate from the Nazi Party was a criminal offence under the Nazi regime. So in truth the Freemasons would never have worn a pin on the streets and never in a concentration camp.
It is estimated that Hitler killed over one hundred thousand Free Masons and Freemasonry went underground but still this delicate flower assumed its role as a symbol of Masonry surviving throughout the reign of terror.
Then in 1947, the Grand Lodge of the Sun was reopened once more in Bayreuth and a little blue pin, the shape of a “forget me not“, was proposed and adopted as the official emblem of the first Annual Convention of those who had survived the bitter years of semi-darkness, bringing the Light of Masonry once again into the Temples.
A year later, at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany the pin was adopted as an official Masonic emblem that was to honour those valiant brethren who carried their work under very adverse conditions. Thus did this simple little flower blossom forth into a meaningful emblem of the Fraternity, becoming perhaps the most widely worn pin among Freemasons in Germany today.
Today, in Germany, the Forget-Me-Not is an interchangeable Masonic symbol with the Square and Compasses and is used it to remember those Masons who were victimized by the Nazi regime.
It was more likely the result of an unconscious effort to inhibit the past and to imagine Freemasons acting according to their ideals of fighting for freedom and defending it.
And so a new legend was born.
So let us keep it and let us wear the “Forget-Me-Not”, to remember with pride all those who have died because of their membership of our Masonic Brotherhood and also those who today live in countries that persecute our brothers.
Since the inception of “The Educator” I have used two “Forget Me Nots” on the Home Page symbolizing (in my mind) Friendship. One for a Brother and One for a Friend.
Also, on my Home Page I have included a Header providing access to an explanation & history of the “Forget me Not” as I knew it then.
With this new and additional information being made available, I have added the second explanation to that already in place.
It is my opinion that each of the Explanations are most worthy of our attention & a compliment to all who could have been involved in the history surrounding this most beautiful flower.
May I offer a HUGE Thank You to those who have shared this moment in history with us.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless