In 1920, Robert Burns Lodge No. 464, Harrisburg, contributed funds for the planting of 268 oak trees on the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown campus, as a living representation of the Masons who died serving our country during World War I. Additions were made to the memorial over the years as a tribute to those brethren for their supreme sacrifice.
With the turning of the 21st century, we enter an era where honoring veterans - past, present and future - has become an important element of the Masonic fraternity and society as a whole. As part of the Masonic Village's 20-year vision plan, based on input from residents, staff and the community, updating and enhancing our Memorial Grove into the renamed Veterans Grove was an essential priority.
The renovations to the monument encourage reflection of wars past and the continuing potential for peace and freedom. The Veterans Grove has been restored to its original splendor with the planting of 123 oak trees to bring the number back to 268. The stone pathway leading up to the monument displays the various conflicts our nation fought, beginning with the Revolutionary War through current conflicts. The entrance proclaims the inspirational words of those who have led our country during times of unrest, beginning with Thomas Jefferson's bold declaration: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." The central focus is on the Word of God, upon which our country was founded.
The walking paths, picnic area and restroom facilities are provided for family and friends to take time to remember, honor and pray for those currently serving in our Armed Forces and pay respect to all veterans especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedom we enjoy each day.