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Audie L. Murphy, the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II who died tragically in an airplane accident in 1971. He received every decoration for valor that this country had to offer plus 5 decorations presented to him by France and Belgium.
Murphy receives Audie's honorary
How Audie Murphy Became a Member
In 1955, Audie Murphy became interested in Freemasonry. Encouraged by his close friend, Texas theater owner Skipper Cherry, Audie petitioned and joined the Masonic Order in California. Later he returned to Texas to conduct his 32 degree work where he joined the Shriners. Audie remained active in various masonic events and was a member of good standing at the time of his death.
Audie received his first degree in Masonry when he was regularly initiated, February 14, 1955 through the North Hollywood (California) Lodge No. 542 F & AM (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons). He was passed to the 2d degree of Fellowcraft on April 4, 1955. On June 27, 1955, he was raised to the 3d degree of a Master Mason.
Later, he became a dual member with Heritage Lodge No. 764 F & AM (North Hollywood, California) on May 14, 1956.
Audie took his 32d degree work (degrees 4 through 32) at the Scottish Rite Temple in Dallas on November 11-14, 1957 according to records located at this temple. After receiving his 32d degree, Audie was elected vice president of the Thomas B. Hunter Memorial Class of the Dallas Scottish Rite.
Audie became a Shriner (Hella Temple, Dallas) on November 15, 1957.
Audie was made a "Master of the Royal Secret" in the Valley of Dallas, Orient of Texas, on November 14, 1965.
Audie was also decorated a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor (KCCH) on December 11, 1965.
Audie affiliated with the Long Beach (Scottish Rite) Consistory on April 2, 1971. Two weeks previously, on March 19, 1971, Shriner Murphy affiliated with the Al Malaikah Temple in Los Angeles.
Audie often participated in Shrine parades in both Texas and on the West Coast. He was especially involved with the annual Mariner's Night, which included a dinner held in the memory of the dead and to honor the living seafaring men. The annual Mariner's Night is sponsored by San Pedro's Los Angeles Harbor Lodge No. 332, Long Beach California. As an honored guest, Audie made one of his last public speeches for the Mariner's Night Dinner on April 15, 1971.
Mrs. Murphy Receives Audie's Honorary 33rd Degree Cap Shortly after Audie Murphy's death, the Long Beach California Scottish Rite Bodies of the Masonic Order honored Brother Audie Murphy by naming the 111th Scottish Rites Graduating Class the "Audie Murphy Memorial Class." The class, which graduated on Saturday, November 19, 1971, had 124 members from forth-five California cities and towns. One of the highlights of "graduation day" for the members of the Memorial Class was a special showing of the film TO HELL AND BACK. The film took the place of the 31st degree and was shown to give the candidates a much better understanding of the character and background of the distinguished Mason and late member of the Long Beach Bodies.
In 2000, during the November Ladies Night Dinner of the Valley of Long Beach, Audie Murphy was recognized when local Scottish Rite members presented to his widow, Mrs. Pamela Murphy, a 33 degree cap in honor of the posthumous election of her husband to that degree at an earlier Biennial Session of the Supreme Coucil of the Scottish Rite.
Harold B. Simpson quoted the Encyclopedia Britanica, in his book AUDIE MURPHY, AMERICAN SOLDIER, as he described Freemasonry as a...
"... fraternity to which men called Freemasons belong . . . . It is secret insofar as it has rituals and other matters which those admitted take an oath never to divulge. Its meeting places, however, are prominently identified and its governing bodies publish annual proceedings, while its membership is a matter of public knowledge . . . . It admits adherents of all faiths, claiming to be based upon those fundamentals of religion held in common by all men and to inculcate, through allegories and symbols connected with the art of building, a lofty morality laying particular stress upon benevolence."
Though often mistaken for such, Freemasonry is not a Christian institution. Freemasonry contains many of the elements of a religion; its teachings enjoin morality, charity, and obedience to the law of the land. With this in mind, Freemasonry is religious in character but in itself is not a religion.