The coffin containing the 500-year-old remains of King Richard III is carried after a service in St Nicholas Church. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

My father, and his father before him, and several fathers before him, were masons (notice the small “m”). You might call them “bricklayers,” but that would ignore an even greater talent – the ability to build stone walls that would stand tall for centuries, through the rigors of rain, wind, and even the occasional earthquake.

I may not build buildings, but I was nonetheless trained in the fine art of masonry. While I thought the ever-present trowel was a neat toy of a tool, I was taught to respect the symbol of the mason: the mason’s hammer

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