On May 22, 1946, The Moslah Shrine Bedouins were organized and chartered by the Potentate of the Moslah Shrine, A.A.O.N.M.S. and his Divan to act as guardians of the Shrine located in Fort Worth, Texas: "The object or purpose of this organization shall be to maintain an efficient Oriental Band, to serve as official greeters at Shrine functions and to support and promote such activities of Moslah Temple as may be assigned by the Illustrious Potentate."
For over sixty years the Moslah Bedouins have kept that charge. They are symbolic of the tribe of Bedouins who in ancient times, seized Kaaba, or the sanctuary at Mecca, and proclaimed themselves its guardians.
The Bedouins are a performing Unit identified by their distinguishing flowing robes at parades and local events. These Shriners represent the idea of the "Sons of the Desert".
The Bedouins' performance instruments include a number of percussion pieces ranging from tambourines to bass drums and the rolling Big Bertha. The melodic sound of the oriental musette, a simple to learn reed instrument, is the highlight of the band. Instruments, instruction and parade or competition uniforms (robes) are provided for all band members.
The photo known as the "Editorial Without Words" is probably one of the best recognized symbols of Shriners Hospitals, yet it was taken almost by accident. Randy Dieter, the photographer, recalled that in 1970, he had been on assignment covering Hadi Temple's annual outing for handicapped children at the now-defunct Mesker Amusement Park in Evansville, Indiana.
"I was taking shots of the midway and was using my telephoto lens," Dieter said.
"I saw a local Shriner walking by carrying a little girl in one hand and her crutches in the other. My camera wouldn't fire. Then they were too close for my lens. I ran past them, but the camera jammed. I had to take my last shot as they walked by. It was the end of the roll. If I had to think about it, I wouldn't have come up with something like that. Fate guides you."
"It still seems unreal," said Bobbi Jo Wright, the little girl in the photo. "I have many wonderful memories of the years I was a patient at the St. Louis Shriners Hospital and remember all the fun activities. I was born with cerebral palsy, which resulted in many orthopaedic problems that made walking difficult. I had many surgeries at the St. Louis Hospital. They greatly improved my ability to walk."
Bobbi Jo received her B.A. in English from Anderson University. She is active in her church and teaches Sunday School. "I use a cane when I go shopping," she said. "If I'm walking on grassy areas, I use crutches."
Today, the famous photo is an integral part of the Shriners Hospitals logo, and has been reproduced on stained-glass windows, mosaics, tie tacs, pins, and in statues. A larger-than-life replica of the "Editorial Without Words" stands outside the International Shrine Headquarters building in Tampa, Florida and in front of El Kahir Shrine in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photographer Randy Dieter presently serves as graphics editor for the Kentucky Post.
The Shriner who was unexpectedly immortalized carrying Bobby Jo was Al Hortman. Formerly of Evansville and now living in Georgia. Above in the original photo is Hortman's daughter, Laura, who was herself a patient at the Shriners Hospital in St. Louis. After Laura began receiving treatment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children, Hortman joined the Shrine.