“The Eleven O'Clock Toast”
On May 31, 1868, George McDonald, one of the original fifteen members of the Elks, proposed a formal toast 'to our absent brothers'. To this day, the toast continues, as recognition to our absent members as well as those who have passed on.
Upon other strictly fraternal occasions this "golden hour of recollection" is generally observed in somewhat the same manner. A designated brother, with or without a few preliminary remarks, proposes the toast, to which all members respond with the words: "To our absent Brothers."
Even when small groups of Elks are together at this hour, although it is not a formal fraternal occasion, it is not inappropriate to recall the sentiment with a moment of dignified silence. The ceremonial is a very effective one, distinctively associated with the Order of Elks. The sentiment it embodies is wholesome and commendable; and it is, therefore, obvious that the designed effect should not be marred by any lack of dignity or decorum; and that it should never be cheapened by observance in inappropriate surroundings.
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