Memorial Day Keynote Speech–Davis Cemetery May 30, 2022

Memorial Day Keynote Speech–Davis Cemetery May 30, 2022

By Judge David Rosenberg

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is an honor and a privilege for me to join you on this Memorial Day. Throughout California and the United States, and wherever the flag of this country flies, Americans are taking time to remember and reflect on this day.

You know, Memorial Day was originally dedicated to the soldiers who died in the Civil War. At that time, it was called Decoration Day because people went to cemeteries and put flowers on graves. People still do that today. In that Civil War, it is estimated that 655,000 soldiers lost their lives. In World War I 116,000 soldiers died, and in World War II another 405,000 soldiers died. The lives of 58,000 soldiers were lost in Vietnam and another 36,000 in Korea. The Iraq war claimed another 4,500 lives and the war in Afghanistan resulted in another 2,500 American deaths. More than 1 million American service men and women have died in our country’s wars, each one loved and remembered by someone back home.

Today, we gather in cemeteries, we march in parades, bands play, people give speeches. We pause in reflection. We tell our stories to a new generation about our history, about our sacrifices. We remember. And we say “thank you for your service” to the Veterans among us.

At this time, may I ask all service men and women, and all veterans who have served, to please rise from your seats (if you are able) or raise your right hand – so that we may recognize you and your service to us.

I remember back in 1968 I was about to graduate from college. The Vietnam War was reaching a crescendo. Many of my friends and I were enrolled in ROTC. During that last year of college, one of my fraternity brothers set me up on a blind date. In fact, it was a double-blind date – a classmate, fraternity brother, and friend of mine – David Plummer – and I were both set up on blind dates and we went out together. Interestingly, both of us wound up marrying the young ladies that same year. And both David Plummer and I graduated and were commissioned as second lieutenants in the US Army. We were so young – just 20 – and we were full of energy and spirit.

I was shipped off to duty overseas as was David Plummer. I was sent to Germany – where the cold war was in full bloom – and David was sent to Vietnam – where a very hot war was raging. I lived, and David Plummer died. I’ve been married to same young lady for over 50 years, and David left a young widow behind. It could easily have been the other way around.

Today we remember and honor the Lieutenant David Plummers and all the other service men and women who served with honor, some who died, some who were wounded, some who were heroes, and others who just did their duty as best they could.

My own time in the military was brief – just two years on active duty and four years in the reserve, but the lessons I learned about honor and duty and service have stayed with me my entire life. In fact, in retrospect, as I enter the final quarter of my life, it is safe to say that I have dedicated my life to honor, duty and service – lessons I learned from my days in the military. And I think about my friend, David Plummer, quite a bit. Certainly on Memorial Day. He is not forgotten.

Many of you are here today because you have friends, parents, children, brothers and sisters, who served this country. You remember them. They are not forgotten.

I’m sure that we all agree – we live in turbulent times. But in truth, the history of this great experiment in democracy – spanning the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries – is a turbulent history. It is rare to live at a time when we have not called on our sons and daughters to stand in defense of our country, our rights, our freedoms, our values.

Sometimes we may take for granted that we have the right to vote and freely elect our leaders, that we have the right to speak our minds and print our books, that we have the right to go to the church or temple of our choice or to choose not to do that, that we are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law, that we have the right to marry whomever we want and to work wherever our talents and skills will take us.

For the men and women who honorably served in our military, and to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – let us never take our freedom and our rights for granted. They certainly did not.

May all who are here for this ceremony find healing and peace. May God bless each of you and may God bless America.

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

Odd Fellows Forever

Odd Fellows Forever

​Impar Socii Aeternum

I have coined a new phrase. And to give it sufficient gravitas, I coined it in Latin. Impar Socii Aeternum. Essentially, it means “Odd Fellows Forever.”

To me, the phrase hearkens back to a time when Odd Fellowship was fresh and new in North America – in the 1800’s. In the early part of that century, a few Lodges emerged in the New England states, and then, like a fraternal wild fire, Odd Fellowship spread right across the United States and the Canadian Provinces filling most every nook and cranny of the continent. There was a time in that century when Odd Fellowship, with over one million members, was the largest fraternal order in the USA.

Odd Fellowship popped up in California in 1849 and then exploded across the new state till there were over 500 Lodges, and over 40,000 members. The enthusiasm of the new members who linked up with the burgeoning fraternity was palpable. Books and records of the time reveal that members were young – many in their 20’s and 30’s. They dedicated themselves to the task of building a fraternal order from scratch. Raising money, building and furnishing Lodge Halls, carefully accumulating costumes and regalia, memorizing passages from the ritual, finding tenants to occupy first floor space (in the standard Lodge plan of two-or-three story buildings), They invited senators, mayors, judges, lawyers, bankers, accountants, and community leaders in business and farming to join their Lodges.

The early Odd Fellows devoted years, and sometimes a lifetime, to building the Lodge and the reputation of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The fixed plumbing, constructed signs, repaired roofs, cleaned, sorted and filed a plethora of documents, books and records. Their lives were intertwined with the Lodge and they dedicated themselves to the health, welfare and growth of their fraternity. Virtually every single member of the Lodge contributed to the Lodge in some way. The early members, I have to imagine, felt that their Lodge Hall and their fraternity would last forever. Impar Socii Aeternum.

So, what happened? Today, in 2022, Odd Fellowship is a shadow of what it was in 1922.

Human beings have lifetimes that are finite – a person who hits the age of 100 is given great honors for their longevity. But fraternal orders can live on for centuries and, in theory, live forever. One generation can hand over the reins to the next, and so on, and so on. So how did Odd Fellowship in California drop from 500 Lodges to 100 Lodges, and how did membership diminish from over 40,000 to barely 4,000?

To me, the answer is painfully apparent. Most members today have lost the drive and enthusiasm of the early members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. They have grown complacent. Lodges are full of “takers” and very few “givers”. Don’t believe me? Well, examine yourself as an Odd Fellow. What have you done lately to improve your Lodge? What have you done lately to improve Odd Fellowship? How many new applicants have you sponsored for your Lodge? Are you a “giver” in your Lodge, or just a “taker”?

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

How to Bring Younger Members into Your Odd Fellows Lodge

How to Bring Younger Members into Your Odd Fellows Lodge

​This article is dedicated to the following subject: How to Bring Younger Members into Your Odd Fellows Lodge. So, fair warning. If your Odd Fellows Lodge is satisfied with a membership of Septuagenarians and has no interest in bringing in new generations of members, then you can stop reading now.

On the other hand, if your Lodge is interested in revitalizing and reviving itself, and in surviving and flourishing for future decades – then read on.

Getting Started

Let’s start with the understanding that bringing in a new generation of members is never going to be simple or easy. Folks who are in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s usually have different interests and viewpoints than folks in their 50’s, 40’s, 30’s or 20’s. The range of divergence can be huge on subjects such as music, books, television, hobbies, clothing, movies, vacations, recreational activities, jobs, living situations – you name it. That said, it is imperative for the long-term survival of the Lodge (and the Order) to bring in new blood. It is a sad truth that many Lodges have skipped an entire generation of members (sometimes even skipping two generations) due to complacency.

5 Helpful Tips

So, to help you out in the task, here are five helpful hints to bringing in younger members to your Lodge:

  1. Be realistic in your expectations. Folks usually have friends and acquaintances in their same general age range. That means that folks in their 70’s usually know other folks in that general age range; and folks in their 60’s typically know other folks in that general age range; and so on. Accordingly, if you are in your 60’s don’t try to bring in potential members in their 20’s or 30’s. It doesn’t do the Lodge much long-range good to bring in new members who are also in their 60’s, but you can certainly shoot for folks who are in their 50’s. So, rule of thumb: try to bring in new members who are about 10 years younger than you are. Over time, that will reduce the average age of the Lodge.
  2. Get modern. Email is ubiquitous. Social media is key to folks under 50 years of age. The old-school concept of paper posters and ads in the newspaper simply don’t reach the younger generations. There was a time when the telegraph was the “latest thing”, then it was replaced by the telephone. The fax machine had its hey-day but that day expired when scanners were invented. Desk top computers are passe, and laptops are in. The telephone on wall or desk has been replaced by the smartphone. Bottom line: Do your best to be current with technology. If your Lodge is still notifying members by way of “telephone trees”, you are laboring in a prior generation, and you will not attract the newer generations.
  3. Spruce up your Lodge hall. A Lodge Hall that is dingy and dark, with peeling paint, stained carpets, odoriferous restrooms, and the faint odor of disinfectant sends the wrong message to the public and to potential new members. Take the time to paint the Lodge with vibrant colors, display lively signs proclaiming “Odd Fellows” to the world. I’m not suggesting that you spend thousands of dollars to repair creaking floors, but the expenditure of some funds (and some physical labor) in cosmetic improvements to the Lodge Hall will pay dividends.
  4. Include activities that recognize and appeal to younger members. The ritual, regalia, passwords and signs resonate for members of every generation. Sure, the ritual is old and stilted, but it conveys important messages and can be credible for those who are 17 or 70. But beyond the trappings of Odd Fellowship, it’s important to recognize that if an Odd Fellows Lodge wants to invite younger members, it must be cognizant of activities that younger members enjoy. And don’t automatically say “no” if a new member suggests something that the Lodge has never done before. Think about it. For example, if a new member wants form a hiking committee – consider it and try to make it work. Further, be aware of the agenda for meetings. I have attended meetings of Lodges where the overwhelming majority of time at the meeting was spent in discussing “members sick or in distress” and repair of a leaking toilet. It’s important to discuss these items. But if a Lodge spends most of its time on such items, to new members it conveys the aura of a retirement home, and not a fraternal order.
  5. A picture tells the story. Be aware of your Lodge’s public image. If every photo sent to the newspaper, or posted on your Lodge’s website or Facebook page displays members with gray hair, what image does that convey to the public or potential new members? Now, there is nothing wrong with gray hair (I have quite a bit of it myself). But if EVERY photo of your Lodge includes only the elderly members, that sends a certain message to the public and potential applicants.

Good luck in your efforts. Your Lodge and Odd Fellowship need the energy and involvement of younger members. That’s what has kept us around for over 200 years. Don’t drop the ball while you are in the game.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Pasts Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

5 Points To Improve Your Odd Fellows Lodge

5 Points To Improve Your Odd Fellows Lodge

A lot of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs from around California and, frankly, from other jurisdictions write to me. Most of the messages are supportive and positive. They hear our message of change and evolution, the energy and the power that comes from being active members and active Lodges.

However, I also receive messages – some from DMC members and some from folks who are not members of DMC – that are sad and discouraged. I heard from a long-time Rebekah who is so discouraged with her Lodge that she is prepared to not renew her membership and to phase out. She says the meetings are boring and unproductive – nothing really gets accomplished. She has energy and ideas, but they are rejected out of hand, and she feels her creativity is stifled. An Odd Fellow has written to me complaining that there is too much “clashing of personalities” going on in his Lodge and at his meetings – “too much back-biting and too many power plays.”

Wow.

When did we forget that the Independent Order of Odd Fellows is all about FRIENDSHIP, LOVE AND TRUTH? When have we grown so detached and so focused on our own selves and our own agendas that we forgot to speak openly person-to-person to our brothers and sisters? When did we decide that we had to pass along a “rumor” about a brother or sister, rather than candidly and directly speak to the affected brother and sister? When was the quest for “power” in the Lodge or in the Order so great that we could criticize or diminish or hurt a Lodge brother or sister?

A little self-reflection is always in order. We are here to “elevate the character of man”. Let’s make sure to start with our own character.

Lodges should be welcoming and comfortable refuges for our members. Lodges should be places where we support one another.

Let’s resolve that:

  1. No idea proposed by a member is “stupid” or “silly” or “unworkable”. Every idea is worthy of consideration and discussion. Ultimately, the idea may be accepted, modified or rejected. But let’s give our proposing brother or sister the courtesy of fair consideration.
  2. No brother or sister should be talked about behind their back. Let’s give our brothers and sisters the courtesy of direct face-to-face conversation. If they have done something really good, take the time to tell them so. If they have done something that bothers you, take the time to talk to them about it in a friendly, open and non-threatening way.
  3. No one in the Lodge should start a rumor about another member. And if you hear a rumor, it should stop with you.
  4. No meeting should be boring or unproductive. Why have a meeting if nothing gets accomplished? Every meeting should have a focus and should move toward a goal – whether it is planning a Lodge dinner, or organizing an event to support a local charity, or planning an installation of officers, etc.
  5. In everything we do in our Lodges, we should always ask the question: “Am I doing this for the good of the Order?”

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

Live Better In An Active Odd Fellows Lodge

Live Better In An Active Odd Fellows Lodge

In the articles appearing in this DMC Newsletter, we have often opined that the most successful Lodges are places that are fun for the members, socially active and involved in the community. These are the Lodges that will sustain themselves, thrive and grow.

But now science has come up with another reason to be involved with fun, social active and involved Lodges: You are less likely to experience cognitive decline as you age.

Yes, it’s true. In research just published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” the scientists examined three personality traits: conscientiousness, extroversion, and neuroticism. It was noted that people who score high in the personality trait of “conscientiousness” tend to be responsible, organized, hard-working and goal-directed. People who score high in the personality trait of “extroversion” tend to be enthusiastic, gregarious, talkative and assertive. And those who score high in neuroticism have low emotional stability and have a tendency toward mood swings, anxiety, depression, self-doubt and other negative feelings. I’m sure we all know people who fit into these three personality categories. In fact, you may be in one of them yourself.

But here’s the fascinating discovery that the scientists made: Those people who scored high on conscientiousness or low in neuroticism were significantly less likely to progress from normal cognition to mild cognitive impairment as they age. And they found that people who scored high on extroversion also tended to maintain normal cognitive function longer than others.

What does all this mean in plain English? “Cognitive impairment” means your mental faculties have slowed down. The study indicated that you could delay this mental slowdown by leading a life that is more active, more fun, more involved. Certainly, being a member of a Lodge which is active, fun and involved can only help toward this goal of living a fuller, more “woke” life.

The study found no association between any of the personality traits and total life expectancy. So, an active Lodge experience will not help you live longer. But it will help you live better.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

Compliments to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Compliments to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

​By now, virtually everyone in Odd Fellowship recognizes the fact that we need to bring in new members as a bulwark against the natural losses incurred when older members move away, drift away or pass away.

One of the best ways to evaluate your Lodge and to analyze your program of bringing new members into the Lodge is to actually get direct input from those new members. Does your Lodge do that? Do you ask the new members to give you feedback on their experience? On the process? On the initiation? On the Odd Fellows Lodge?

You can learn a great deal that can help you in the future. Following, for example, is an email written by one of the newer members of my own Lodge, analyzing and evaluating the process he went through, leading to initiation and membership in the Lodge (one of the requirements we impose is that the applicant interview members – using a set list of questions – so that they to know one another). I won’t reveal the name of the writer, nor the names of any of the members he mentioned. But you may find this evaluation interesting and informative.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

*********************************************************************************************************************************************************

Hi Dave,

I am very much looking forward to contributing more to the lodge. I have already volunteered for the ——- event. I am very impressed with the Davis Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.). Also, I want to put in a word for my sponsor —–. Without my having known him for many years and having been impressed with how much he cares about and puts into the community and other groups in the community I may never have discovered upon this opportunity. He introduced me to the Lodge by inviting me to the Thursday night lodge event. I had a great time there but more importantly I got a real sense that this Lodge and the members I encountered and interacted with and the activities that the Davis Lodge were carrying out showed to me that this is an organization that doesn’t just talk the talk but actually “walked the walk.” In fact, by the second or third meeting I actually introduced a new friend to the Davis Lodge and I understand that he is going to pledge in the next class this year. However, it all began with knowing —– and seeing how in many different situations he really lives the principles.

I also want to mention —–‘s insights regarding overall I.O.O.F. declining membership outside of Davis, his article on this trend and how to reverse it and that analysis, and ideas are of great importance and significance beyond the Davis Lodge, the I.O.O.F. as a whole but also to many community based and social organizations, events, neighborhoods and our society as whole.

During my interview process, I made it a point to talk to interview some new members who were early in their membership as well as long term Lodge members. What I came away with is that for many Lodge members, old and new, the Davis Lodge is a very important part of their social life and that they very much missed the Lodge’s regular activities during the COVID shutdown. Social isolation and loneliness is an increasingly widespread problem, not just among elderly people, but in many other populations and segments in our society. It is impacting a range of areas such as depression, mental health, growth of extremism and the serious social divisions in our society.

I’m looking forward to making contributions to the Davis Lodge and the overall I.O.O.F. in the future.

Thanks,

—–

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Is your Odd Fellows Lodge in Trouble?

Our Order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, has been diminishing for decades. Membership numbers have dropped. Lodges have lost their charters or consolidated. The pandemic hasn't helped. How can you tell if your Odd Fellows Lodge is healthy or if it is in...

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Bullies of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Rumors. Allegations. Innuendoes. Charges. Accusations. Trials. Is that what the devolution of Odd Fellowship will look like? Is that any way to build up and grow this Order? Of course it isn't. Here is an article from Past Grand Master Rick Boyles that should concern...

Chase the Chill

Chase the Chill

Years ago Lea Rosenberg started "Chase the Chill" as an Odd Fellows Lodge project in conjunction with the City of Davis. The project provides clothing and other needed items for the unhoused and homeless population in Davis. This year, the "Chase the Chill" day will...

Pin It on Pinterest