Patriotic Order Sons of America
of the Red Degree
of the Red Degree
Opening Ceremony INITIATORY ODE. ODE. Clasp hand in hand like brothers,
When the time has arrived to open Camp, the President will call to order and say:
PRESIDENT: Brothers, this Camp is about to open for regular business. Officers and members will assume regalia, and take their stations. All present not members of this degree will please retire.
After allowing a reasonable time, the President continues.
PRESIDENT: The Guard will close the outer door. The Secretary will call the roll of officers and note the absentees.
If any officers are absent, the President fills the vacancies by appointment at this time.
PRESIDENT: The Conductor, after examination by the Master of Forms, as to his knowledge of the pass-word and duties, will see that the Inspector and Guard are at their stations and possess the pass-word. He will then return and report.
After examination of the Inspector and Guard, the inner door having been closed, the Conductor advances to the saluting ground, faces the President, and reports without saluting.
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, the doors are closed and guarded, and each post of duty
PRESIDENT : Brother Conductor, are you satisfied that all present are entitled to remain?
The Conductor remains on saluting ground, and carefully scrutinizes every person present. If any one is unknown to him as a member, or he doubts his right to remain, the Conductor shall direct him to the Master of Forms, whose decision in the matter shall be final; and when satisfied that all are entitled to remain, reports as follows:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, I am satisfied.
Conductor then resumes his station.
PRESIDENT, ***: Brothers, under Providential rule and guidance, we have met as patriots should, to labor for the land we love ─free America. Let each in his station strive to do honor to our noble cause, to advance its interests and be a credit to his country and himself. Studying to be faithful to our solemn pledges, let no envious shadow dim the light of love and patriotism, no discord rise nor discontent be known in our Camp. Let us proceed as men and patriots to perform the duty which is plain before us, that of perpetuating the liberties given us through our sires, a sacred heritage. Let us in peace, harmony, sincerity and truth, fulfill that work.. We will now sing the
O Columbia, the gem of the ocean,
The home of the brave and the free,
The shrine of each patriot’s devotion,
A world offers homage to thee.
Thy mandates make heroes assemble,
When Liberty’s form stands in view;
Thy banners make tyranny tremble,
When borne by the Red, White and Blue.
When war waged its wide desolation,
And threatened the land to deform,
The ark then of Freedom’s foundation,
Columbia, rode safe through the storm;
With her garlands of victory around her,
Thus so proudly she bore her brave crew,
With her flag proudly floating before her,
The boast of the Red, White and Blue.
The Star Spangled Banner bring hither,
O’er Columbia’s true sons let it wave;
May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor the stars cease to shine on the brave.
May America’s sons ne’er sever,
But they to their Union prove true,
The American cause forever─
Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue.
CHAPLAIN: Father, King of the Universe, to whom alone a freeman bends the knee, met here to serve the country which Thou hast blessed with freedom, we ask Thy light upon our labors and in our hearts. dive us strength to do good and power to resist all evil. Be pleased to bless our Order everywhere, and bind it together in peace, harmony and fidelity. May our work be so done, as to meet Thine approval; and when life’s duties are all over, call us up to Thee, we ask, in the Savior’s holy name. Amen.
Camp responds: Amen.
After which the Conductor lights the Blue Altar light. The President then says:
PRESIDENT, *: This Camp is now in business session.
PRESIDENT: We are ready to confer the Degrees of the Order upon candidates found worthy and elect. The Conductor will ascertain if any such are in waiting.
The Conductor retires to perform this duty, and makes a record of the names of the candidates, and the degree for which they present themselves. On his return, he advances to the saluting ground, salutes the President, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, in the anteroom I find in waiting …, for the Red Degree.
PRESIDENT: Brother Recording Secretary, do you find that … has been elected to receive the Red Degree.
RECORDING SECRETARY: I do.
Change to the Red Degree
If candidates are present for the Red Degree, the President says:
Inspector notifies the Guard by one rap; Guard responds by one rap. Inspector opens the door and informs the Guard. He then reports:
INSPECTOR: Brother President, the Guard has been notified.
Red Degree Initiation
PRESIDENT: Brother Master of Forms, prepare the hall for conferring the Red Degree.
When all is ready, the Master of Forms reports as follows:
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother President, the hall is prepared.
PRESIDENT: Brother Inspector, notify the Guard that we are working in the Red Degree. Admit by the Red Degree pass-word all members of that Degree.
PRESIDENT: Brother Recording Secretary, has been duly elected to this Degree?
RECORDING SECRETARY: It is thus on record.
PRESIDENT: If there is any cause which should prevent the initiation of this candidate, now is the time to make it known.
If objections are made by any member, and sustained by a majority of those present, the application shall be again referred to the Committee of Investigation, for report at the next regular meeting. If no objections are made, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brothers Conductor and Financial Secretary, yon will retire; propound the questions, record the answers, and collect the fee.
The Conductor takes the “Question Book from M. of F. The applicant shall respond to the following questions in the ante-room.
Question 1: What is your name? Age? Residence?
Question 2: Were you born in the United States of America, or under its jurisdiction? Where?
Question 3: Do yon owe allegiance to any foreign Prince or Potentate; or, are yon bound by oath or faith, to any ruling power other than the government of the United States, and the State in which this Camp exists?
Question 4: Do yon believe in the existence of Almighty God, as the Supreme Ruler of the Universe?
Question 5: Have yon an application now pending in any Camp of this Order, other than this?
Question 6: Have yon ever been rejected by, suspended in, or expelled from a Camp of this Order?
Question 7: Do yon solemnly swear (or affirm) never to divulge a sign or secret of the
Order yon now seek to enter?
If the above questions are answered satisfactorily, the candidate shall subscribe to the following Declaration, signing his full name.
I solemnly swear (or affirm), that I have true answers given to the above questions.
After collecting the fee, the Conductor and Financial Secretary return, salute and report.
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, the questions have been answered and signed as our forms demand.
FINANCIAL SECRETARY: Brother President, the fee is paid.
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, introduce the candidate.
The Conductor then takes the flag, and retires to the ante-room. The Sentinels rise, take their positions, one on either side of the Altar, facing the Vice-President, and hold their muskets at “carry arms “ It is provided that Camps may post their Sentinels by appropriate military commands. In the ante-room, the Conductor takes the candidate’s arm, and hails the Inspector by three raps. Inspector opens the wicket, and says in a loud voice:
INSPECTOR: Who seeks entrance?
CONDUCTOR: The Conductor, with a recruit to our ranks.
INSPECTOR, closing wicket: Brother President, the Conductor, with a recruit, seeks entrance.
Lights are turned very low.
PRESIDENT, ***: Let them be admitted.
INSPECTOR opens door, and says: Enter.
The Conductor then escorts the candidate. directly toward the Altar, and on arriving at the saluting ground, the Sentinels assume the position of “charge,” without leaving their places, bringing left foot one step forward without moving the right, the bayonets held obliquely, crossing each other before the Altar, at about the level of the face.
RIGHT SENTINEL: Halt! Yon tread on sacred ground.
LEFT SENTINEL: Stand and report! Why are yon here?
CONDUCTOR: With this recruit, I seek an interview with our President.
RIGHT SENTINEL: None but children of the land of Washington have access to him.
CONDUCTOR: This candidate is native-born and true.
LEFT SENTINEL: How know we that?
CONDUCTOR: By due trial he has passed the guard line, and now, in Freedom’s holy name, I claim to guide him on his way.
RIGHT SENTINEL: ’Tis well─ pass on!
LEFT SENTINEL: The Traitor’s doom is death─ the Patriot’s path is bright: pass on!
At the words “path is bright,” the lights are at once turned on full, and the Sentinels resume their first position. The Conductor then escorts the candidate direct to the Altar, and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, this recruit, found worthy of place within our ranks, comes to yon for advice in his first step toward his duty in this Order, and to take that Obligation which will bind him to us forever.
PRESIDENT: Son of America─ Your desire to join our ranks, knowing that for the safety of our National heritage it is necessary, meets with our hearty approbation. We, the pledged Sons of America, have vowed, through life and unto death, to cling to this, our free and native land, in victory or defeat, and to save her from internal danger as well as outward peril, so far as in our power lies. Questioned as you were, and answering as you did, we are impelled to believe that none but good and patriotic motives are in your breast. No idle curiosity, no mercenary passion, no ambitions aim, will be satisfied within the ranks, or beneath the banner of our true fraternity. Before yon go further with us, it is necessary for you to take a solemn obligation, which must never be broken or forgotten. In it you are not asked to forego your duty as a law-abiding citizen, or your honor as a man; but rather, you are bound to every duty that belongs to man in his highest estate. Are yon willing to take this Obligation?
Upon proper response from the candidate, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, place the candidate in position to take the obligation, kneeling at the Altar, his left hand on the Bible, and his right hand over his heart.
When the candidate is in position, the Sentinels cross their muskets over the Altar, and the Conductor rests his flag on the points of the bayonets. The President then advances to the Altar, and the Chaplain takes a position to the right of the President. The other officers and members remain in their places.
When all is ready, the President kneels at the Altar, places his left hand on the Bible, and his right hand over his heart. He then says:
PRESIDENT: An American kneels to God alone; therefore, in this solemn moment, in His presence, you will repeat after me this obligation, using your name where I use mine.
I, …, beneath the eye of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, do solemnly promise never to reveal a secret or sign of this Order to any person not known to me as a true member of the same. I will obey all its Laws, and discharge the duties of every station I may fill, according to its rules. I will aid, protect, and defend a worthy brother, even as I would be aided, protected and defended by him.
I will never wrong a brother in his name, his business, or his family. With my life I will defend my country, her Constitution and her Laws. Believing that a union of Church and State would be a deadly danger to our land, I will oppose it by every means in my power.
Knowing that Free Education is the Nation’s best defence, and a sure foundation of freedom and liberty, I will defend and sustain our system of Public Schools. To this Order, my country and her flag, devoting heart, head and hand, I pledge my solemn faith, without mental reservation, calling these, my brethren, to. witness my sincerity and truth. So help me God, as I am true.
Camp responds: Amen.
CHAPLAIN: O God, bless thou this brother, who has just assumed this high and holy relation to us; help him to preserve inviolate all the principles of this Order; keep him true to Thee, his country, and himself; and in all the paths of life, may he be led by Power Divine; prepare him for death, and when he shall have passed away, may his record be his proudest monument. Amen!
Camp responds: Amen.
President returns to his station, and says:
PRESIDENT, *: Rise! Son of America; rise, pledged brother in freedom’s cause, and receive further instructions.
While the first verse of the ‘‘Initiatory Ode” is sung, the Conductor escorts the candidate around the hall, and halts at the station of the Master of Forms. The Sentinels return to their stations.
My country ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Master of Forms, this obligated brother asks instructions in the work he has promised to preserve secret.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother, remember your solemn pledge, and never under any circumstances betray a sign or secret of this Order. Your sacred honor, and the safety of your brothers and yourself, demand that excessive caution must be used in every signal, and never without cause, a sign or cry be given outside of the Camp. The pass-word will always reach you in a whisper; only during the session of the Camp is it given, and the Master of Forms alone has the right to communicate it. It must not be passed from brother to brother, except as given at the doors on entering. I will now instruct you in the secret work of the Red Degree. Done.
Our Vice-President will now clothe you with Regalia.
While the second verse of the “Initiatory Ode” is sung, the Conductor escorts the candidate around the hall, and halts at the station of the Vice-President.
My native country thee─
Land of the noble free─
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills,
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Vice-President, this obligated and instructed brother asks from you. the badge of honor worn in this Degree.
VICE-PRESIDENT , placing Red Degree regalia on candidate: Brother, I now place upon you the Regalia of this Degree, the emblem of that fire of patriotism, which should ever burn brightly in your heart. Wear it, Son of America, proudly; never, by word or act, disgrace it. Let your life be a credit to yourself, your country, and this Order. The Master of Forms will instruct you further.
While the Vice-President is performing his duty, the Master of Forms lights the tri-color fire in the Urn, and extinguishes the red light: All lights in the hall to be extinguished at the conclusion of Vice-President’s charge. When all is ready, the Master of Forms, standing behind the Altar, gives the commands, “about face: forward march,” and the Conductor escorts the candidate direct to the Altar.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Master of Forms, our brother, wearing the regalia of this Degree, would hear more of the duties before him.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother, standing before the fire, lighted on the Altar of Liberty, we greet you! Look upon that tri-colored flame, and learn a lesson from each hue. Love, Purity, and Fidelity are each signified there, as in our nation’s flag, and we trust that your life will prove that all are united in your character. un that Holy Bible place your trust; in its teachings find your hope. In this Constitution─ handing candidate a copy for his own use─ find the laws which you have promised to obey. Remember the obligation you have taken; the emblems we have used, and all will go well with you.
Then turning to the Camp, the Master of Forms says: Brothers, form our fraternal circle, and let us around our new brother renew the vows which we, as well as he, have taken.
The brothers form the fraternal circle around the Altar. All officers and members participate, except the Conductor and the candidate, who remain inside the circle, and before the Altar. When all is ready, the Master of Forms says:
MASTER OF FORMS: Now linked hand in hand, while throbbing hearts respond in love, let us in song uplift our united voices.
Let heart with heart unite
To pledge our faith and honor,
To hold and guard the right;
Each voice and heart obeying,
Bursts forth in glowing song,
Through all the land resounding,
In echoes loud and long.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brothers, where is our strength?
Response by members: United we stand, divided we fall!
MASTER OF FORMS: With upraised hands, do you renew the binding vows which pledge us to our country, through our lives, and unto death, as men and patriots?
Response by members, holding up right hands: Our country, first, last, and forever; in life and unto death, our Country!
MASTER OF FORMS: Brothers, as a blessed light falls fresh upon us; all lights are now turned up fully open our ranks, and admit the new brother into that chain of human links which hath no end, the circle of fraternal strength.
The ‘fraternal circle’ is reformed as before, the Conductor and candidate participating.
CHAPLAIN: May He who said “Let there be light,” and there was light, strengthen us and keep us firm through life, in our duty unto Him, and to our country. Amen.
Camp responds: Amen.
Our sacred cause and order
No distance shall undo;
But rolling time shall twine them,
More binding, firm and true.
Clasp hand in hand like brothers,
Let heart with heart unite,
To pledge our faith and honor,
To hold and guard the right.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brothers, we have renewed our pledge of loyalty to the land of our birth. Be true to these united expressions, and in all our deliberations, “let brotherly love continue.” Ever be mindful that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” We will now return to our respective places.
The members return to their seats, and while the third verse of the Initiatory Ode is sung, the Conductor escorts the candidate once about the hall, halting at the station of the Past President.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees,
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break;
The sound prolong.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Past President, I present this brother for final advice from one, who having held our highest office, is qualified to give the same.
PAST PRESIDENT: Brother, you have entered upon a noble work, and at this, your first step in our beloved Order, you no doubt feel like learning more of the duties before you.
The great principles that we strive to inculcate in the minds of the brethren are, Patriotism, Charity, Fraternity, and the preservation of our free Public School system. Believing as we do, that free education is the basis of national liberty, we advocate a free school system which disseminates no prejudice, rears no bigots, nor digs up the buried ashes of old superstitions. It is your duty, as a Son of America, to defend the public schools of our country against open and secret foes; to oppose all who would unite Church and State; to protect and aid a worthy brother, and never wrong him in any way. Cultivate fraternal feelings toward your brethren. Attend regularly the meetings of your Camp. Perform cheerfully and promptly all duties required of you.
In every sphere and station of life, you will find active members of the Order. If you prove worthy of the confidence reposed in you, in advancing you thus far in the rites and mysteries of our Order, cheering words will ever greet you in your progress onward and upward, through the Red, White and Blue.
Washington must have looked with prophetic eye down the dim vista of the future to the present day, when he bade us beware of foreign influence, and pronounced it the most baneful foe of a republican government. How are we to meet this danger except by organization, not as politicians, but as Patriotic Sons of America, who place country before party, and whose watchword is “God, our Country and our Order!”
As treason is a sin unpardonable, so faithful love of country is a glory and a pride to every honorable man. While you obey each law of our cherished land, be it yours also, to see no disloyal foot trampling down the same, or striving to destroy that heritage which by our fathers hands was left us.
In the name of this great fraternity I now greet you.
Past President takes candidate by the hand.
In the name of our Heavenly Father I pray for your happiness and success, and by the memory of Washington, I charge you to be faithful! May God shield us, and prosper our cause.
Camp responds: Amen.
During the singing of last verse of the Initiatory Ode, the Conductor escorts the candidate around the hall, and halts at the saluting ground.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
PRESIDENT: I now declare a brief recess, to enable our new brother to become better acquainted.
When a motion to adjourn has been made and seconded, or the Camp reaches that order of business, the President shall say:
PRESIDENT, *: Is this Camp ready to cease its labors?
This question is not debatable. If no objections are made, the President proceeds. If objection is made, the President puts the question, and acts in accordance with the will of the Camp.
PRESIDENT: Brother Financial Secretary, you will please report the receipts and expenditures.
This being done, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, you will please collect the Rituals and return them to the Master of Forms.
Conductor collects all Rituals except President’s. President then says:
PRESIDENT, ***: Brethren, we have concluded our labors this evening like Americans, who know the true value of freedom.
Beyond these walls let us ever be watchful that there may be no unguarded moment in which our secrets may be divulged, or our Order brought into disrepute. We will now sing the Closing Ode.
AIR: “Auld Lang Syne.”
Columbia, my native home,
If e’er my fate should be
In foreign lands, to toil or roam,
My heart will cling thee.
Columbia, O how I prize
Thee, native land of mine!
Italia’s blue and sunny skies
Are not more bright than thine!
Columbia, no other land
Is half so good: so free;
Though diadems may them command,
Thy laurel wreaths for me.
Columbia, where’er I go,
My healt will ever be;
Through joy or grief, through weal or woe,
My native land with thee.
At the conclusion of singing, the Chaplain steps to the Altar and closes the Bible. The President then says:
PRESIDENT: The Conductor will convey these forms to the Master of Forms.
After the President’s Ritual book has been handed to the Master of Forms, the President says:
PRESIDENT: This camp is closed.
Clasp hand in hand like brothers,