Patriotic Order Sons of America
Ritual for the Blue Degree
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
filled. The Camp is ready to open.
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 Opening Ode
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, Bro. … for the Blue Degree.
PRESIDENT: Brother Recording Secretary, do you find that Bro. … has been elected to receive Blue Degree).
RECORDING SECRETARY: I do.
Initiation in the Blue Degree
PRESIDENT: Brothers, we are ready to confer the Blue Degree. Brother Recording Secretary, has brother been elected to receive the Blue Degree?
RECORDING SECRETARY: It is so recorded.
PRESIDENT: If there is any cause which should prevent the initiation of this brother, 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 for report at the next regular meeting If no objections are made, the President says:
PRESIDENT: Brother Financial Secretary, collect the fee.
Financial Secretary retires to ante-room, and on returning reports at the saluting ground, after saluting:
FINANCIAL SECRETARY: Brother President, the fee is paid.
PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, introduce the candidate.
Conductor retires to ante-room, places a White Degree regalia on the candidate, takes his arm, and hails the Inspector by three laps. Inspector opens the door widely and says in a loud voice:
INSPECTOR: Who seeks entrance?
CONDUCTOR: The Conductor, with a Son of America desiring advancement to our highest Degree.
INSPECTOR, closing door: Brother President, the Conductor of this Camp with a Son of America desiring advancement to our highest Degree.
PRESIDENT, ***: Let him be admitted.
The Conductor escorts the candidate directly to the saluting ground and says:
CONDUCTOR: Brother President, this candidate has taken the Obligation of a Son of America, and successfully passed through the Red and White Degrees. He now desires to have conferred upon him the Blue Degree, that he may be fully prepared to carry out the sacred principles of our Order.
PRESIDENT: Brother from the Red and White, standing at the portals of the Blue, you have signified your desire of being advanced to this final Degree. Let me assure you that none but the worthy can have that privilege. We have watched your course, and would never have received you had we seen anything amiss in your actions, or had you shown a disposition to treat the great principles upon which our Order is founded, as of little importance. Before further advancement, it will be necessary to record your favorable responses to certain questions, which have been assented to by every member of this Degree.
Question 1: Have you in the two preceding Degrees become so satisfied of the necessity for, and the value of this organization, that you desire to reach that height where true fidelity and earnest patriotism, receive a just reward?
Candidate answers: I have.
Question 2: Are you willing to pledge life, honor and fortune to your country in her hour of need?
Candidate answers: I am.
Question 3: Me you willing to stand by this loyal brotherhood until death calls you hence, assured by us that no dishonorable or disloyal act will ever be demanded of you?
Candidate answers: I am.
Question 4: Do you pledge renewed obedience to all the laws and usages of this Order, holding true allegiance to its lawfully elected heads, and in no respect withholding your entire faith from us?
Candidate answers: I do.
CHAPLAIN: Oh Lord, look upon this brother; prepare his heart; quicken his understanding; and enlighten his judgment that he may duly comprehend and properly appreciate the great responsibilities he assumes. Inspire his heart with love for Thee, our country and our Order. We pray for Thy blessing upon every member of this Camp. Keep us ever faithful; foster fraternal love; knit our hearts firmly together.
Hasten the day when all men shall enjoy the blessings of freedom, and finally, when done with us here below, transfer us to that noble band of patriots on high, where Thy name shall have all the praise. Amen.
AIR: “Nearer My God to Thee.”
We will uphold the right,
Put down the wrong,
Never give up the fight,
Until vict’ry’s won.
Serve with heart, head and hand,
God and our native land;
So shall our path be bright,
To our latest day.
PRESIDENT, *: Brother, death alone will release you from the covenants you have assumed in this Order, and this step must give direction to your future life. Go on, my brother, in your noble acts of Patriotism, Charity and Fraternity, and often, in your struggle through life, think of Washington and his compatriots, and though you may sink to rest less honored than they, yet your name will be inscribed on the scroll of this patriotic band, who have joined hands to preserve Peace, Union and Liberty now and forever.
There shall be placed in some suitable part of the hall, preferably near the Vice-President’s station, a frame to support movable curtains, behind which shall be prepared the tableaux described hereafter, to be exhibited at the proper occasions by separating or dropping the curtains. At the conclusion of the address by the President, the, Conductor takes the arm of the candidate, escorts him around the hall, and delivers to him the following lecture while marching, as if conversing
CONDUCTOR: You have just taken upon yourself the sacred and solemn pledges of the Blue Degree. The recording angel has already winged his way to the courts of heaven and registered them against your name. For a faithful performance of these vows yon will be held accountable by your brethren on earth, and your God in heaven.
At this point the Conductor halts the candidate, facing the curtain, but at the opposite end of the hall. The lights in the hall being turned very low, the curtain is drawn aside, revealing the first tableau, which consists of a group of “Continentals.” In the opening of the frame there should be stretched tightly a thin, transparent curtain, through which the tableau is seen faintly, as if it exhibited but the spirits of departed Continentals. There should also be a light behind the screen, directed upon the tableau.
CONDUCTOR, standing still with candidate, facing tableau: The martyred Sons of Liberty who have proven faithful to their obligations, and sealed their devotion to their country in the life-blood of their loyal hearts, are hovering about our Camp this evening, and their spirits are gladdened at witnessing more Sons of America advanced in the Order.
The curtain then closes, and, after a slight pause in silence, the Conductor resumes the march about the hall with the candidate, and continues his address as follows:
May their example and the memory of their sufferings in the cause of liberty, be with and perpetually about you, inspiring you to a more faithful discharge of your duties as a member of this Order. Remember the covenant yon have entered into. It binds you until death calls you hence. Then be faithful to God, your Country and your Order.
The Conductor then halts the candidate at the same position as before, while the curtain rises, displaying the second tableau, which consists of a gallows with rope attached, and a figure standing beside it, as if ready for execution.
CONDUCTOR: Brother, you now witness a scene which should deeply impress your mind with the importance of being true. Behold before you what should be the fate of him who, by perjury, betrays his country. Death, ignominous death, should be his portion. Contemplate the scene.
After a slight pause the curtain closes and the Conductor resumes the march about the hall with the candidate, and continues his address:
Ponder well the lesson. Let it be deeply impressed upon your memory. Reflect that your days on earth are few, and that soon your resting place will be the narrow confines of the coffin and the grave. It is while living that you must be faithful and true. Be therefore true, and memory will weave bright chaplets of honor around your name, and you will be remembered as a true Son of America. Passing years will add a new lustre to your deeds of brotherly love and patriotism, while he who is false, will die a death of perjury and shame, his memory a reproach. Be true, honor God, your Country and the Order, and obey their laws; and may God strengthen us all to keep our vows to this brotherhood.
At the conclusion of this address, the candidate is halted at the station of the Master of Forms. Lights are turned up.
CONDUCTOR: I now introduce you to the Master of Forms for the final instructions, whereby you become entitled to all the privileges of this Order.
MASTER OF FORMS: Brother, you have again obligated yourself to unite in carrying forward the principles of our Order, and we hope that in endeavoring to promote them, you will do it with malice toward none, with charity for all, but firmness in the right as God gives you to see the right. It now becomes my duty to put you in possession of the secret work of this Degree.
Brother, you have been fully instructed in the secret work of this Order. The Vice-President will clothe you in regalia.
Conductor escorts the candidate to the Vice-President.
CONDUCTOR: Brother Vice-President, this brother has taken all the obligations and pledges required, and has been placed in possession of all the secrets of our Order. He now asks from you the regalia that will enable him to take his seat among us.
VICE-PRESIDENT: Brother, history informs us that secret societies are of ancient origin, and that their votaries in the times of great ignorance, superstition and slavery, gallantly defended the weak and oppressed, protected virtue and honor, and aided to enlighten the age in which they lived. It is certain that during the dark and bloody days of the American Revolution, our forefathers bound themselves together in secret brotherhood by vows, resolving to rescue their native land from the hands of its tyrannical rulers.
We should strive to emulate the example of Washington, and the hosts of heroes who fought and died for freedom. They lived not for themselves alone, or to gratify their personal ambition or desire of fame. They loved their country. They loved liberty. Eternity alone will reveal all the sacrifices they made in its behalf. Wealth, fame and honor, all. were staked on the altar of their country. They dared all; braved all; for the liberties you now enjoy. Truly their patriotism and brotherly love are worthy of our emulation, and it is for the purpose of perpetuating that liberty, that we are now banded together.
This regalia, with which I am about to clothe you, is symbolic of your country’s flag, in hue and design. We hope you see its emblematical significance, and will wear it with a consciousness of pride and honor. The red and white stripes indicate purity of purpose and sincere devotion; the blue field, determination to uphold the right as God gives you to see the right.
Vice-President then places the Blue Degree regalia on the candidate, while the members sing the Ode as follows.
AIR: “Sweet Bye and Bye.”
There’s a band that is loyal and true,
The “Sons” of an Order who stand,
‘Neath the folds of the Red, White and Blue,
To protect and to watch o’er the land.
O the Red, White and Blue,
It shall wave o’er the brave evermore,
O the Red, White and ~Blue,
It shall wave o’er the brave evermore.
At the conclusion of the singing, the Vice-President says:
VICE-PRESIDENT: Brother Conductor, escort the candidate to the Past President for final advice.
This being done, the Past President says:
PAST PRESIDENT: Brother, during your progress in this Patriotic Order, you have been conducted by a succession of steps, accompanied by appropriate lessons, each more beautiful and instructive than that preceding, until at last you have reached the pinnacle occupied by patriots and lovers of their native laud. From this height, looking back over the road you have so successfully traveled, I trust you are fully impressed with the magnitude and importance of our country. This morning’s sun reddened the shores where the “Cradle of Liberty” was rocked to the sound of the Atlantic thunders, and its parting beams at evening still crimsoned the shore of our country, where the “Golden Gate” opens into the ocean Pacific.
You have been shown the dangers which surround free America, and the secret influences which constantly essay to destroy the citadel of our liberties. An apprehension of these dangers, and a natural solicitude for your welfare, prompts me on this occasion, to present for your contemplation some sentiments which appear to me, to be all important to the permanency of our native land.
Past President here displays picture of “Goddess of Liberty.”
Look upon this emblem of your nationality, the tutelary spirit that presides over our destinies as a nation, the bright Goddess in whose shield is woven the glorious trinity of freedom’s imperishable colors. As you look upon it, may it cause you to remember that we are citizens of one common country; that the shadow of the same flag has fallen on all our birth-places, and that each one here expects its folds to drape his coffined form, when the heart that pulsates now is stilled and motionless forever. In reflections, such as these, let the virtue of “Fraternity” take deep root in your natures; for if we would preserve America united, free and all powerful, our affections must be concentrated upon “God, our Country and our Order.” The name, “American,” which is ours in a national capacity, should arouse all our pride and patriotism; and it invites a careful. study of everything calculated to promote her interests.
See to it that you respect your constituted authorities; that you obey all legal enactments; for such are the fundamental principles of our country and this Order. Let the Bible be your guide. In its pages you will find the truths which have come to us from the time when Moses wrote, and Joshua judged, and David sang; eternal principles which the founders of governments have neglected in times past, but which now triumph in the foundation and superstructure of the American Republic. Through its teachings you will, at all times be able to shield your country, and confound the enemies of civil and religious liberty.
I now welcome you to a full knowledge of the final degree of this Patriotic Order. You have been instructed in the duties an American owes to his country. Be yours the courage to perform those duties.
Candidate is then conducted to the desk of the Recording Secretary to sign the Constitution, and when this has been done, he is taken to the saluting ground. President gives three raps *** and steps forward to the saluting ground, grasps the candidate by the hand and says:
PRESIDENT: By the authority in me vested, I welcome you, and declare you a member of this Camp, entitled to all the privileges and fellowship of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, of the United States of America.
President then resumes his station, gives one rap, and declares a brief recess.
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.