Elks Celebrate the Stars and Bars
by Cate Murway
Flag Day, the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777, was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While it was celebrated for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
Our American flag, dubbed “Old Glory,” “The Stars and Stripes,” “The Star Spangled Banner” or simply the “Red, White and Blue,” has come to symbolize everything our nation has stood for the past 239 years.
The Elks #970 do it again!
It is to be expected that an organization dedicated to patriotic service should seek to promote a proper knowledge of, and respect for, the American Flag, and for all that it represents. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has done this in many ways but the most effective of its prescribed activities is the Flag Day Service. Each Lodge is required to conduct this service annually on June l4th, the anniversary of the birth of the American Flag.
The Bristol Elks #970 Flag Day Ceremony was held last Sunday in Lions Park, an annual observance on the second Sunday of every June since 1908. Open to the public, the ceremony included an invocation, singing of the national anthem, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and a presentation of the story behind each officially commissioned United States flag.
Billington VFW Post #6495, Bracken American Legion Post #382, and the Bracken Cadets Alumni Drum and Bugle Corp participated in the service. It is also of the utmost importance for the youth to participate in the Flag Day ritual to fully understand the history of the flag.
Exalted Ruler Margaret Bastian and Past Exalted Ruler Megan Hems began the ceremony. BSA Charter organization rep, Francis X. “Frank” Reilly reported that both Troop #212 and Pack #212 proudly carried in the flags. “We were prepared! We’ve recruited and have more Scouts.” Every Scout swears to an oath that includes duty to his country. They recently toured the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a step toward earning an “American Heritage” badge.
The evolution of the American Flag marks the progression of the government of the American people. Our flag symbolizes the very blood, sweat, and tears of American men and women who brought this country into existence.
Veteran/ Honorable Frank W. Peranteau addressed the crowd, giving due respect to the late, Edward C. Heacock, “Ed the Barber”, Elks #970 PER and two term trustee. Magisterial District Judge Peranteau also shared that his father, a WWII veteran was very proud of his service. These men with their devout patriotism were his role models. “I thank my fellow veterans for their service and continued service and leave you with a reminder, ‘All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing’.”
Chaplain Kristie Gaynor shared, “We so missed Ed Heacock today.”
WWII Army veteran Corp. Staff Sgt. James A. Rawle, Jr. served in the Pacific. “I was in Korea and Okinawa and we chased the Japanese out.” We are forever in their debt.
The newly raised flag waved as the ceremony continued and boats roared down the Delaware River.
Kudos to John T. Peischl, Jr. for flawlessly running his first Flag Day ceremony!
“ Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue”
Upon its folds is written the story of America- the epic of the mightiest and noblest in all history. That story is written in blood and sweat, in heroic deeds and unremitting toil and the greatest significance of our flag, however, lies in the influence it has in the hearts and minds of millions of people.
“You're the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.”
The Elks all began with the ‘Jolly Corks’ vision to become more helpful in the community.
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks continue to invest in their communities. The Elks offer programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, by providing tomorrow's leaders, our youth, with lifelong skills through projects that address unmet need, and by honoring the service and sacrifice of our veterans.
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