Today we celebrate Freemason and Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Brother Aldrin is most well-known for his incredible contributions to science and space travel but his time as a Mason is just as impressive. Happy 92nd birthday, Brother Aldrin!
To West Point & Beyond
Brother Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., or as he’s more famously known, Buzz was born on January 20th, 1930 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. After graduating third in his class at West Point with a degree in mechanical engineering he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he received his PhD in Astronautics. His academic life quickly pivoted back to the military where he served two tours in the Korean War. During his time as an enlisted soldier Brother Aldrin flew a jet fighter pilot in 66 combat missions and is credited with shooting down two enemy aircrafts.
Apart from his accomplishments as a soldier, astronaut, and scientist, Brother Aldrin is a member of a handful of Masonic organizations. First initiated into the fraternity at Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Alabama, Brother Aldrin was raised to the Master Mason degree at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge No. 169 in Colorado. He was also an active member of Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417, AF & AM in Seabrook, Texas. After becoming a Master Mason he became a member of other Masonic appendant bodies like York Rite and the Arabia Shrine Temple of Houston. Whilst on the journey to the Moon in his Apollo 11 mission, the Grand Master of Texas approved the establishment of an appendant body of the Grand Lodge of Texas on the Moon. Brother Aldrin also carried a handmade Masonic silk flag on his journey into space; the flag can now be found in the archives of the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C.
Brother Aldrin’s impact in the world of academia and national defense made waves throughout the nation and he was selected as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Group 3. Buzz was the first NASA astronaut to hold a doctoral degree. Aldrin was heavily involved with NASA’s Gemini program that took place throughout the 1960s but his namesake will always be associated with the success of the Apollo 11 mission. On the morning of July 16th, 1969 Buzz Aldrin was one of the first men, and first Mason, to step foot on the Moon. A man rooted in religion and the Presbyterian faith, Brother Aldrin is still the only person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon. Aldrin recalled in his 2009 memoir titled, Magnificent Desolation, “if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion. Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind – be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God.”
As we celebrate Brother Buzz Aldrin’s 92nd birthday we must also celebrate his progress as a Brother of our fraternity. Aldrin is more than an astronaut, a trailblazer, a soldier, and a scientist, he is a proud and an accomplished Mason who has put our values of hard work to the test. Buzz Aldrin is truly the definition of, “a traveling man” and we’re very lucky to call him a Brother. Happy birthday, we wish Brother Aldrin a happy and healthy 92nd year!