On Friday, March 16th, 2018, Eric R. Greitens, Governor of the State of Missouri, signed a proclamation into effect declaring March 18th as Missouri DeMolay Day. The Order of DeMolay was founded upon the inspiration of the great historical legend of Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar during the Crusades of the 14th century, who was burned at the stake alongside Geoffrey de Charney, becoming one of the world’s most renowned instances of martyrdom, courage and loyalty. Today, 708 years after the fact, we hail their memory and remember their sacrifice.
Jacques DeMolay and his close brothers seemed to know what kind of a world they would be leaving behind if they were to allow their identity and immense fortune into the hands of the corrupt powers that were. As DeMolays around the world engage in solemn remembrance of our namesake’s sacrifice this day, may we hear the cry of honor shouted across time and space by a man who felt the gravity of his circumstance and the weight of the responsibility he endured for future generations to know freedom. Jacques DeMolay didn’t just die for his friends. He died so that his friends could carry on a message in danger of being stamped out of existence, which may have left behind a cold, stark world under the rule of oppression, tyranny and greed. Instead of simply being released and paid off, Jacques DeMolay and his loyal knights chose to be tortured and suffered a gruesome death, in order to protect freedom of thought and liberty of consciousness for future generations.
Legend was that Jacques DeMolay and Geoffrey de Charney were burned at the stake for refusing to betray their comrades, for not giving in to a corrupt system of power and authority, and for holding true to themselves, to each other, and to God until their last breath. History now substantially shows this to be the case. Eleven years ago, almost 700 years after the fact, in the year 2007, historical documents and court proceedings from Jacques DeMolay’s trial – The Chinon Parchment – was discovered in the Secret Vatican Archives and resurfaced by a research team lead by author Barbara Fraile. The monumental discovery vindicates the legend past through the centuries as truth and illuminates a vast historical landscape once shrouded in doubt and uncertainty.
The Order of DeMolay, now a world-wide organization which has seen several million young men through its ranks over the years, was founded in 1919 in Kansas City, Missouri, by a young Scottish Rite Mason and nine young men. This fraternal youth organization which has reached 24 countries around the world and growing, was founded to give young men of all backgrounds the opportunity grow to lead successful and fulfilling lives. Dedicated to teaching and demonstrating wholesome moral values while developing leadership and life skills, DeMolay was put in place to build young men of character and wisdom, so that the world around us may flourish together and future generations prosper.
There is a DeMolay Chapter open somewhere around the world nearly every hour of every day of the week and in it young men are learning great universal ideals, bettering themselves and each other, becoming stronger and more confident leaders, and influencing our communities and society at large one young man at a time, all the while binding members around the world across vastly different cultural, political, and religious landscapes together as one.
We are the inheritors of decades, centuries, millennia of successfully lived lives; and now the challenge falls to us, the living, that the yet to be born have a place to put their feet and a sky to walk under. One of the greatest lessons our order bestows upon its members is legacy, and what we choose to leave behind for future generations. Let us remember this day and celebrate Jacques DeMolay as a glorious example what it means to honor the past, honor the present, and honor the future. Happy Missouri DeMolay Day!