4th Degree: Patriotism
On February 22, 1900, the first exemplification of the Fourth Degree was held in New York City. To the three original principles of the Order: charity, unity and fraternity, the ritual added patriotism. The focus of the Fourth Degree is on this principle - an abiding love for and devotion to one's country. The primary purpose of the Fourth Degree is to foster the spirit of patriotism by promoting responsible citizenship and a love of and loyalty to the Knights' country through active membership in local Fourth Degree groups called assemblies. Assemblies are led by a Navigator; a position similar to the Grand Knight within the Council.
Certain members of the Fourth Degree serve as Color Guards and Honor Guards at civic and religious functions, an activity which has brought worldwide recognition to the Knights of Columbus organization. Members of the Color Corps are the visible part of the Order. When the public sees them in parades, they see the visible arm of "The Knights of Columbus". When they attend wakes and/or funerals of our deceased brothers all see the visible "Knights of Columbus". Admission to the 4th Degree does not automatically make you a member of the Color Corps.