Skull and Crossbones

The zinc KEESE Family Monument in the Rock Creek Cemetery at Washing D.C. displays symbols representing The Knights of Pythias—a knight’s helmet surmounts a shield with a skull and crossbones and three letters, “F”, “C”, and “B”, which stand for the fraternal organization’s motto, FRIENDSHIP, CHARITY, and BENEVOLENCE, overlaid on crossed swords.

The Knights of Pythias was founded by Justus H. Rathbone in 1864, making it the very first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an Act of the United States Congress.  The society is based on the Greek story of friendship from 400 B. C. between Damon and Pythias, members of a school founded by Pythagoras.

According to their Website, Pythians: promote cooperation and friendship between people of good will, find happiness through service to mankind, believe that friendship is essential in life, view home life as a top priority, show an interest in public affairs, enhance their home communities, respect and honor the law of the land, and expand their influence with people of like interests and energy.

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