Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book News: Midnight Freemasons Book Taking Shape

Todd E. Creason and Gregory J. Knott authoring a new book that includes contributions from the Midnight Freemasons
I thought I'd give you a little update on the book project. It's really taking shape. I have put together a terrific mix of some of my favorite pieces, along with some new material as well. Greg Knott (Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons) is co-authoring the book, and is providing photographs throughout from his impressive collection. The book will be printed in full-color as I said before. 

In addition, a few (maybe all) of the Midnight Freemasons are contributing their favorite pieces: Managing Editor Robert Johnson, Bill Hosler, Brian Schimian, Darin Lahners, Aaron Gardner. Just to name a few. And a couple of them are writing pieces just for the book! So I'm very pleased how it's coming together. 

What I'm hoping for is a book that's entertaining to read, and can also be used for Lodge education presentations. I've kept that in mind as I've selected the material for the book. With Greg Knott's photographs, I'm also hoping the book will be fun to browse like a coffee table book as well--Greg has put together many, many great photos with interesting captions and even short stories about where they were taken and what they depict. Also, I'm going to be tossing a few interesting notes in there along the way about the Midnight Freemasons blog--how we got started, some fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and maybe even tell a few stories about some of the adventures we've been on together. 

I don't have a title for the book yet so it remains "the book project" for now. Greg and I were bouncing a few possible titles back and forth over the weekend as we were busy cleaning our Lodge--so far, all the proposed titles stink. 

I'm sure we'll come up with something--I just don't think "The Book Project" is a title that will sell.

~Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It Is Always Better To Go Down Fighting

When I was in sixth grade, one afternoon chaos erupted in our classroom.  A very angry bee had found its way into the classroom, and everyone panicked.  Everyone including the teacher crowded into the furthest corner of the classroom as the bee zoomed repeatedly around us.  The girls shrieked, and the boys covered their heads--but at least one of them kept swatting at it, making the bee even angrier than it was when it first arrived.  

It was pretty obvious somebody was going to get stung, and being the only person in the classroom with a serious allergy to bee stings, I didn't really want it to be me.  I wasn't that interested in taking a trip to the ER that day.

And so I walked across the classroom and began opening the windows that ran the length of the room one at a time.  When I did that, the bee followed me, and began to buzzing closer and closer to my head to the point I felt him brush the side of my face a couple times--lets just say I was a little nervous about that bee.  

Two or three other boys saw what I was doing and started opening windows from the other end.  People were shouting at us to stop!  They thought we were making it worse, and the bee was going to sting somebody.  I knew they were right about one thing--somebody was going to get stung.  There was no question in my mind at all about that.  I also knew bees could only sting you once, so the choice was pretty obvious to me anyway.  Do nothing, and most assuredly one person in that classroom was going to get stung, or do something to change the situation, and maybe the bee flies away and nobody gets stung at all--a no brainer.

Once the windows were opened, we grabbed a few three ring binders and tried to encourage the bee out of the window.  Everyone was still yelling at us to stop, but we kept trying to encourage that bee to go outside.  And suddenly, the chaos ended as quickly as it began.  The bee flew out of the classroom.  My friends and I quickly began slamming all the windows closed.  Problem solved.

I remember at recess that day, several of my classmates were still angry with me and my friends.  According to them, because of our stupidity we almost got them stung by a bee.  My recollection of the events that morning were very different. My friends and I saved someone from being stung. 

The experience that day provided me with several very early and very valuable lessons that have served me well in life.

1.)  Crying, complaining and ignoring a bad situation doesn't change a bad situation. 
2.)  In a bad situation don't expect anybody to do anything--you have to take it upon yourself to act. 
3.)  Even when you're acting in the best interest of the group, you will be criticized no matter what you do. 
4.)  Even when your course of action proves correct in the end, your decision will nevertheless be questioned after-the-fact by the same people that stood by and did nothing. 
5.)  You can't allow fear of criticism to stop you from acting in the future.  Those that can, do.  Those that can't or won't, watch and complain.

It is far easier to criticize than it is to act, but it is far more rewarding to accomplish than to admonish.  

And of course, there is one final lesson I learned that day.  If you're going to get stung by the bee anyway, isn't it better to get stung trying to avoid being stung, than being stung in the butt while cowering helpless in a corner?  I think so.  Don't you?

~Todd E. Creason

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A New Book Is In The Works!

Midnight Freemason WB Darin Lahners with a copy of "Famous American Freemasons" at the House of the Temple Library in Washington D.C.
It's been a while since I've published a Freemasonry book, but I'm working on a new book now that I think everyone will enjoy--that's another reason there's been a lot of reposts lately.  It's a collection of some of my favorite short pieces adapted from Midnight Freemasons posts, along with excerpts from a few of my speeches and presentations--kind of a "best of" book.  I realized recently that I've written over 900 blog posts, speeches, and articles over the last ten years, and a great deal of that work was before the Midnight Freemasons became such a huge phenomenon.  

Along with some of my favorites from the past, there will also be some new content in the book as well.  I'm pleased to say a few of my talented friends over at the Midnight Freemasons have expressed an interest of contributing to the book--so there should be a great mix of material.  Not only will the book be in full color, but it will feature a great deal of photography from Midnight Freemason Senior Contributor Greg Knott (you may also be familiar with his regular photo pieces in the The Journal of the Masonic Society). 

More information later, but I'm shooting for a Spring 2018 release--just in time to showcase it at Masonic Week in Washington, D.C. 

~Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How a Free T-shirt Lead to Military's Highest Honor

The Medal of Honor
"If I'm a hero, then every man who stands around me, every woman in the military, every person who defends this country is." 
~Salvatore Giunta

The first living service member to receive the Medal of Honor for action during any war since Vietnam described the experience Wednesday as bittersweet.

"It is such a huge, huge honor," said Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, now 25, of Hiawatha, Iowa. "It's emotional, and all of this is great. But it does bring back a lot of memories of all the people I'd like to share this with who I can't. They gave everything for this country, and because of that, we're not going to be able to share this moment together."

Giunta was chosen to receive the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary valor during a mission in one of the most dangerous areas of rugged eastern Afghanistan in 2007. Giunta, who serves in the Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, will receive his medal at a White House ceremony.

Giunta told of the Oct. 25, 2007, attack, when insurgents ambushed him and his small rifle team of airborne soldiers. He said his platoon was watching over another unit from a ridgeline as it entered a village. Shortly after leaving the area, he said, they were attacked along a trail.

Giunta was knocked flat by the gunfire, but a well-aimed round failed to penetrate his armored chest plate. As the paratroopers scrambled for cover, Giunta reacted instinctively. He ran straight into the heart of the ambush to aid, one by one, three wounded soldiers who had been separated from the others.

Two paratroopers died in the attack, and most of the others suffered serious wounds. But the toll would have been far higher if not for Giunta's bravery, according to members of his unit and Army officials.

Giunta spoke of his actions, saying, "I didn't run up to do anything heroic." He said he thought at the time, "Everybody's been shot at, and I might as well run forward. This was a situation we were put into," he said. "By no means did I do anything that others wouldn't have done."

Ironically, Giunta never planned a career in the military. When asked why he enlisted, he said he was mopping the floors late one night at the Subway sandwich shop he worked at, and heard on the radio that his local Army recruiter was giving away free t-shirts. "I guess I've always been a sucker for a free t-shirt."

Giunta enlisted in the Army in November 2003 and has deployed twice to Afghanistan. He said he hoped his award will bring more recognition for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and the sacrifices they make in being away from their families and being put in harm's way.

According to Pentagon statistics, six service members have received Medals of Honor, all posthumously, for operations since September 2001.

~Todd E. Creason
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