A Masonic "Sign, Token or Word" Brings Comfort after a Tragedy
We learn of certain "signs, tokens and words, whereby one Mason may know another in the darkness as well as at noonday". But what about a sign from beyond.... from the eternal Lodge above... that all is OK? On Monday, January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crashed into the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. On board that flight were two couples from Poulsbo, Washington. The men, Bob Williams and Bob Thorgrimson, were friends and Brothers. Both were Past Masters of Warren G.Harding Lodge. A tragic crash, the plane broken into bits, and its precious contents scattered to the four winds of heaven. Most plane pieces settled into the sea in water 700 feet deep. Other pieces, like the seat cushions, floated to the surface, there to be picked up by fishermen and others providing assistance after the crash. Two fishermen on a small boat, the Meridian, worked for hours hauling wreckage and personal effects on board. They dutifully turned everything over to the Coast Guard, as evidence to help reconstruct the crash and determine its cause. Or at least they thought everything had been turned over to the authorities. On the day after the crash, two squid fishermen were washing their boat of the jet fuel that contaminated the debris picked up the day before. Stuck in a recess under the handle of the deck hatch, was a gold and red Masonic ring. Word got out that the fishermen had this Masonic ring. The local Sheriff came to the house of one of the fishermen demanding the ring be turned over to him as evidence. The fisherman's wife was threatened with arrest. She refused! The ring was going to be returned to the family of its owner. "She wasn't giving it up -- she was that strong in her convictions" The two fishermen, one a native of Poulsbo, spent twenty hours contacting Masonic Lodges trying to identify to whom the beautiful ring belonged. They finally determined that the ring belonged to Wor. Bob Williams, given to him by his wife Patty. The ring, worn by the passenger flying thousands of feet above the ocean, in a plane that falls to the ocean's depths; the ring that mysteriously appeared within hours of the crash on the deck of a boat being worked by a fisherman hailing from that small fishing town of Poulsbo, 1100 miles from the crash site. Who can possible explain how something so small would curiously be found by these two fishermen who would make every effort possible to see that the ring would bring peace and light, after death, to the loved ones of the deceased? Bob Williams' daughter feels she knows the answer. Tracy Wnizek struggled to accept the death of her parents, but the Masonic ring was a sign from her father. The father and his small daughter had long ago made a pact that the first to die would send a signal to the other that all was well in the hereafter. Only a year before the accident, after her grandfather died, she reminded her father of their old pact. A message would be sent from beyond "to let the other person know if it's OK, like we think it's going to be". The Masonic ring was her signal... a message from her father. The "Meridian" truly was a divine ark, sailing in the tempestuous sea of troubles off the coast of California last January. Bob William's Masonic ring was a sign to a troubled daughter that her parents had found rest in the Lodge not built with hands, eternal in the heavens. On February 13, 2000, more than 300 people gathered at the Bremerton Masonic Temple in memory of their four friends and Masonic Brethren. The Bremerton Scottish Rite and Warren G. Harding Lodge conducted memorial services. Hearts were feeling the loss of loved ones and a few minds had to be wondering, that the Grand Architect of the Universe used a Masonic ring as a sign to a grieving daughter, in the darkness of her grief, that her parents were in a far better place and wanted her to know that "all is OK"? Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of these two couples and to the Brethren of Warren G. Harding Lodge.