So you think you know Texas?What does the Scottish Rite, the University of Texas, and a German WWI cannon have in common?The CannonJust before World Ward I (1914-1919), the German military developed a weapon that they believed would be the "knock out" weapon to break sieges and turn the tide of any battle. This weapon was a huge cannon (42 cm howitzer) and was the largest single siege gun at the time in the world. Only four of these massive weapons were produced in 1914. The shells alone weighed 820kg each. It took a 1,000 man crew to move and assemble each piece at their destination point. The gun was so terrifying that the crew and others referred to it as "Big Bertha."The Yankee DrumOn 28 October 1922, the University of Chicago football team played a game against Princeton University. Chicago lost the game but presented for the first time a massive drum named "Big Bertha" so named for the frightening German WWI cannon.By 1939, the University of Chicago de-emphasized their sports program, quit playing football, got rid of their marching band and put all of the equipment and instruments, including Big Bertha, in storage underneath the West stands of Chicago's stadium. It was in the same area where the Manhattan Project of WWII produced the first nuclear chain reaction. Some thought that the drum might have become radioactive, but in 1946, the University's magazine reported that the drum had passed a Geiger test and was free of contamination.Some time later, the drum was transported to New York City to provide the "cannon fire" during a presentation of the 1812 Overture.In 1952, the drum was used in a film about John Phillip Souza's life called, "The Stars and Stripes Forever," with Clifton Webb, Debra Page and Robert Wagner.Enter Moton H. Crockett, Jr.In the Fall of 1954, Col. D. Harold Byrd, a longtime benefactor of the University of Texas Longhorn Band, requested former band director Moton H. Crockett, Jr. to get the largest drum he could find for the band. During the search, it was discovered that Big Bertha was stored in Elkhart, Indiana.Crockett arranged to see the drum. Mr. Greenleaf, of the Conn Music Co., told Crockett that he wanted the largest university in Texas to have the largest drum in the world. Greenleaf said he couldn't give it away, as Purdue University wanted it as a gift, but he would sell it to UT for $1.00.The deal was sealed and Big Bertha was tansported to UT in a special trailer and became a tradition and icon for the band and the university. Only one time has it ever left the custody of UT. In the fall of 1991, after the September 21 game with Auburn (Auburn 14 - Texas 10), Big Bertha was lent to the University of Chicago for one year to help them celebrate their 100th Anniversary.Moton Crockett, a Scottish Rite MasonBorn in 1923, Moton Crockett graduated from Austin High School, entered the University of Texas, and joined the Longhorn Band in 1941. He was Drum Major of the Longhorn Band and its Director from 1950-1955. He initiated the current scholarship contribution program during his term as President of the Longhorn Alumni Band and continues to be an active member and generous supporter of the Alumni Band.In 1972, Crockett became a Mason at University Lodge No. 1190 in Austin. In 1974, he joined the Sottish Rite of Freemasonry in Austin and in 1997, received his last and final 33°. He currently serves as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Scottish Dormitory (SRD) for girls and willingly shares his time, energy, skills and finances, and most recently, is underwriting the restoration of Big Bertha. Mr. Crockett was one of four inaugural inductees into the Longhorn Band Hall of Honor in 1997.On Wednesday, February 1st, the San Saba Scottish Rite Club will be traveling to the University of texas at Austin to visit Scottish Rite Dormitory for Women. Members will meet at the Lodge Hall in San Saba and carpool, leaving at 11:00 a.m. Scottish Rite Masons are reminded to bring their regalia and caps. The tour will begin at 1:00 p.m. and will last approximately 2 hours. The membership will then attend the monthly stated meeting at the Austin Scottish Rite Temple.