Only a handful of people in human history can claim to have stepped foot on the moon. And Brother Edwin Eugene [Buzz] Aldrin is widely appreciated within the Craft as the first Mason on the moon. As a member of the Apollo 11 crew, Aldrin was part of the pioneering craft that pushed the boundaries of what humankind thought was feasibly possible, and created a legacy that will encourage and foster scientific discovery for generations.
As the world watched on, Buzz Aldrin and his NASA colleague Neil Armstrong took what would become known as small steps for man, and giant steps for mankind on July 20th, 1969. Buzz was actually the pilot of Apollo 11, and was responsible for steering his crew to the historical moon landing. While brothers have been responsible for many of the most incredible feats here on earth, they’ve also been responsible for remarkable feats in outer space, as Aldrin’s remarkable achievements go to show.
Buzz Aldrin’s remarkable life began in January 1930, when he was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, and later went on to receive a PhD in Astronautics from M.I.T in 1963. As a veteran of the Korean War, he is also a decorated American military man, and is credited with two enemy kills during his tour.
He was first initiated into Freemasonry at Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Alabama, and was raised at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Colorado. He is also a member of York Rite and the Arabia Shrine Temple of Houston. Before joining the crew of the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin had an unusual request. He approached the Grand Master of Texas and requested to open a representation of the Grand Lodge on the moon.
His request was welcomed and accepted, and therefore Buzz Aldrin was able to establish Masonic territorial jurisdiction in outer space. He signed and carried a special deputation from the Grand Master of Texas and carried it with him to the moon. Such was Aldrin’s commitment to the Craft that he had the foresight to expand the boundaries of Freemasonry to outer space; a remarkable feat for the fraternity.
What’s more, Aldrin also carried a handmade silk Masonic flag with him on his journey to the moon, which was embroidered with the following words:
“Supreme Council, 33-degree, Southern Jurisdiction, USA.”
The flag is now located in the archives of the House of the Temple, as Aldrin took it to Washington D.C. and presented it to Grand Commander Luther Smith in 1969, a few months after returning to earth. You can watch the following video to see the flag and learn a little more about its unique and interesting story.
It’s fair to say that Aldrin is one of Freemasonry’s most iconic and treasured flag-bearers. He has received many awards and accolades throughout his life, and has been widely celebrated for his contribution to America’s space program. His first award, however, was bestowed upon him thanks to his efforts in the Korean War, after which he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal in 1969.
For his space expeditions, brother Buzz Aldrin was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal by President Johnson in 1966 for the Gemini space program, and then the NASA Distinguished Service Medal following the completion of the Apollo 11 mission in 1970. He was also inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1982. He received the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, presented to him form the Space Foundation in 2006, the Foundation’s highest and most prestigious award.
Academically, Aldrin supplemented his PhD with honorary degrees from six colleges and universities, and was named as the Chancellor of the International Space University in 2015. His most recent award came in 2019, when he was awarded the Starmus Festival’s Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication for Lifetime Achievement.
Evidently, few Masonic brothers can rival the decorated career of Buzz Aldrin, and his contribution to science and discovery have been rightly recognized and rewarded. However, like many other Masons, Aldrin is known as a kind and humble man, and his incredible lifetime achievements haven’t distracted him from his remarkable philanthropic and altruistic contributions.
Within Freemasonry, Brother Buzz Aldrin is rightly a source of inspiration for many within the Craft, and his foray into outer space is source of true pride to all within the fraternity. While he is more commonly regarded as one of the first men on the moon, he will always be regarded by the fraternity as the first Mason on the moon; a title that we’re sure he’s incredibly proud of.
For more information about Brother Buzz Aldrin’s incredible life and achievements beyond Freemasonry, you can visit his Wikipedia page by clicking here.