With tie recent passing of DeMolay Legion of Honor recipient Arnold Palmer, PA DeMolay's Deputy State Master Councilor, Brother Jacob Beers wrote this blog post. Thank you Brother Beers for sharing your meaningful and heartfelt story.
Sunday night, I was coming off of a very good weekend of DeMolay. Saturday marked another great Autumn Day for the Masonic Village of Elizabethtown where I was able to talk to a few prospective members for Central PA Chapters and spend time with friends across the Masonic Youth Groups. Later in the day, the ESOs and I worked on final planning for Jacquestoberfest and worked on other State issues. Sunday, we invested 16 new Legionnaires into the Legion of Honor with an amazing ceremony back at the Masonic Village of Elizabethtown.
However, not all of the weekend was as perfect as it would seem to have been. At 8:58 PM, I received this update from CBS Sports:
“BREAKING: Arnold Palmer, golf trailblazer known as ‘The King’, dies at age 87; had 62 PGA Tour wins”
I was immediately saddened. Just one year ago, I had the chance to meet the golfing legend. Not only did I meet him, but I had the chance to be a part of his Legion of Honor Investiture Team performing the 2nd Preceptor part, truly an honor within itself. Looking back on it now, I don't think I appreciated that moment enough. I don't think I really noticed until now that a man who seemingly had everything - trophies, medals, championships, Presidential recognition - could be so proud, so honored, to be given this recognition from an organization such as ours. This was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life, or at least it is now when my hindsight is 20/20.
The DeMolays that were there were able to talk with him in his office for a while after the ceremony had finished. I can remember one of the members from Westmoreland Chapter asking of a table full of embedded medals of Palmer’s many tournament wins something like, “what are these empty spaces for?” To which he brilliantly replied, “those are for my next wins.” The man was so confident and such a joy to be around that I wish I could have stayed longer and asked him more, but the only question I got in was this: “What made you want to open a golf course in China?” His reply was something along the lines of this (I'm paraphrasing): “Golf is something I've loved ever since I played it as a boy. They [China] didn't have golf over there and I wanted to spread what I love to them so they could enjoy it, too.” Whether that's exactly what he said or not, the point is clear: Arnold Palmer wanted to spread what he loved to people that didn't have it so they could love it themselves.
I didn't write this, initially, with the idea of plugging DeMolay into it, but I feel as though I can't not do it. If we all, as DeMolays, spread what we love (hopefully, DeMolay falls into that category) to people that don't already know how great this group is, maybe we, too, can spread passion for DeMolay as Palmer spread passion for golf throughout his life. Though Palmer himself was never a DeMolay, I feel connected to him. Of all the Legion of Honor Conferrals I've been a part of, it is his that I felt was one of the most meaningful. Like I said earlier, a man that had everything was so proud to be honored by some little youth organization called DeMolay.
Arnold Palmer was one of the greatest men I have had the honor of dedicating anew to the faith of our fathers, as the Ritual prescribes. I can only hope that this distinction from a group of young men whom he had never met, but whose ideals were those that would provide the foundation of a successful future for themselves and their country, was as great of an honor to receive as it was to bestow on The King himself.