During the Encampment on Friday night, we conducted a ceremony during which we lit two bonfires with flaming arrows (we have to work on the flaming arrow part) in remembrance of Thom and Marc and promised never to let them go out. On Saturday night we revealed the work that we friars had been doing over the past week: three shields, one for the Knights of Lepanto (pictured above), one for Thom and one for Marc.
I am no herald, but I have done some private research on heraldry, so if anyone reads this blog who has suggestions or corrections, I am completely open to them. For an explanation of the arms of the Knights of Lepanto see this post.
By the way, for anyone who cares to help me out with my heraldry, the blazoning of the arms of the Knights of Lepanto I render thus: Per fess azure and argent, a fleur de lis counterchanged between two fleur de lis argent and a cross formy gules dexter, a fleur de lis azure sinister. That is just a guess. I really don’t know what I am doing. I concur with Chesterton: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”
My intention is to bestow full knighthood in an official capacity upon both Thom and Marc posthumously. Both of them were in formation for knighthood; however, we have had no formal investitutures or doubings yet in the organization. Even so, it seems that the two of them providentially entered the order of knighthood during the last encampment.
In any case, I wanted to bestow upon Thom and Marc the arms of their knighthood, so the first thing I did is find the arms for the French Girard family which as it turns out is three gold trefoils on a blue field. Blazoned that would be, I think, azure three trefoils or. My second concern was how I would distinguish their arms from each other’s. There is a heraldic way of showing that the bearer of arms is a son, but I thought I might do it in a different way by giving each of their arms a distinctive honorary augmentation.
My line of thinking on their deservingness for this honor is as follows. Thom was the brains and the spirit behind the Encampments, and by universal acclaim among the knights he became the first Encampment Grand Marshal. As I talk more and more to various knights I am amazed to just how deeply Thom had assimiliated the Spirit of Lepanto.
Marc, as I have said before, was his father’s son and a hero. What more needs to be said?
So on Saturday night, before I had the boys recite the oath, we presented the shield of Lepanto to Mr. Dietz, the new Grand Marshal of the Encampments, the shield of Sir Thom to his son Adam, and the shield of Sir Marc to his brother Lucas.
Master Paul recieving the Lepanto shield from Brother Giuseppe to present to Mr. Dietz.
Mr. Casey placing Sir Thom’s shield on the tower after having recieved it from Adam.
Lucas holding the shield of Sir Marc.
Friar honor guard for the three shields.
Sir Thom’s Shield
I am not going to try to express the proper blazoning of these arms, suffice it to say that the arms of the Girard family (three gold trefoils on a blue field) have been quartered with the arms of the Knights of Lepanto. Quartering usually indicated a marriage, but sometimes it was used to augment the arms of a knight because of some noble deed. In such cases a king or barron might quarter the arms of the knight with his own arms. Thom, as the first Grand Marshal and because of his complete commitment to what the Knights of Lepanto are about has earned the right to have his arms quartered with that of the Knights of Lepanto.
Sir Marc’s Shield
I guess that Marc’s shield would be properly blazoned thus: azure, a horse argent and three trefoils or. What I have done is take the Girard arms and augment them with a white horse. In the organization of the Knights of Lepanto I have envisioned establishing an honorary council of anyone who has held a high place of responsibility or who by some deed of honor has established his precedence. I planned to call it The Council of the White Horse, in remembrance of King Alfred the Great and his victory over the Danes, which Chesterton immortalized in his epic poem The Ballad of the White Horse.
Defender of the faith as he was, Chesterton saw in the epic history and legend of King Alfred a testimony of God’s love for England, and was moved by his Catholic sensibilities to assimilate the story in a mode that produced a work that was not only chivalric, but also spiritually moving. The motif of the White Horse was used in connection with a geological formation on a hill in Berkshire. From ancient times a 374 foot long figure of a horse had been cut out of the side of White Horse Hill. The turf was dug out, exposing the white subsoil below, so that the figure of the white horse could be seen against a green grass background. According to the legend accepted by Chesterton, the Vale of the White Horse in Berkshire was the location of the Battle of Ethandune. In the mind of Chesterton, and in the text of the ballad, the white horse signifies the presence of Christendom. When Christians are in control of Wessex they tend the white horse and regularly cut the grass back to preserve the figure; when the Danes are in control of Wessex the figure is grown over. The ballad ends with the restoration of Christendom in Wessex, the establishment of the English Kingdom and the scouring of the horse (Book VIII).
While Thom by virtue of his being the first Grand Marshal is also to be considered a member of the Council of the White Horse, Marc, by virtue of his heroic death is to be considered the founding member.
On Sunday morning just before Holy Mass, we had two candles lit from each bonfire and had them carried into the Church by Carol and Jacquiline Girard. Thom’s Sheild was carried by Adam Girard, and Marc’s by Lucas Girard. The Knights have pledged never to let either of those two fires to be extinguished. May their gesture, be translated into their own heroic deeds.