Remarks at the Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania of George Washington's Apprenticeship into Masonry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It seems to me that that which this country needs more than everything else is not to preach only, but to practice the virtues we try to realize through Masonry and to show to the memory of the greatest Mason that ever lived—Washington—the homage of deeds, not merely words. One of the things which attracted me so greatly to Masonry, that I hailed the chance of becoming a Mason, was that it really did live up to what we as a government are pledged to—of treating each man on his merits and as a man. When Brother George Washington went into a lodge of a fraternity he went into the one place in the United States where the idea of our government was realized as far as it is humanly possible to realize a lofty ideal.
Masonry should make and must make each man who conscientiously and understandingly takes up his obligations the best type of American citizen, because Masonry teaches him his obligations to his fellows in a practical fashion. It is a good thing to read the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July; it is a good thing to talk of what Washington and his fellows did for us; but what counts most is how we live up to the lessons that we read or that we speak of.
Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks at the Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania of George Washington's Apprenticeship into Masonry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/343520