FLAG DAY 2017….America ALOUD!
by Cate Murway

Since 1916, June 14th has been set aside as National Flag Day in honor of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official American flag. 
Patriotism is something to live by. Making a change in the world can happen anywhere and anyone can do it. So, what starts here in historic Bristol on the Delaware at a Flag Day celebration can indeed change the world. Thank you to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Bristol Elks Lodge #970 for the Flag education, their annual observance on the second Sunday of June since 1908, that inspires a deeper pride in this great country of ours, promoting a proper knowledge of, and respect for, the American Flag, and all that it represents. The B. P. O. E. continues 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.
A sincere thank you is extended to Flag Day Coordinator John T. Peischl, Jr. for spearheading this important ceremony.

The next generation will continue to shape this land long after we’re gone. One of the best ways to help ensure that the United States of America remains the world’s greatest nation is to instill our cherished American values and traditions into our children.
‘We the people’ starts out with us being ‘We the kids’….As Americans we need to prepare the youth to be thoughtful, active citizens who have an appreciation for the basic values of our state and national heritage and who can understand and productively function in a free enterprise society. It is our duty to teach and emulate patriotism. Numerous monuments and signs are reminders of patriotic events and the sacrifice of our soldiers in behalf of our freedoms is a common theme in advertisements, billboards, and commercials; yet, there is a concern that the message is not getting across to the younger generation. Are we proud to be Americans? 
We should be humbled to be Americans. If we do not take care of ourselves, we silently give permission to someone else to make decisions for us.
How do you teach respect and patriotism?

Cassidy Muzyk and her husband Ryan, the Elks Lodge Esquire brought their two young children, Daniel and Willow as well as their nephew Damion, a Cub Scout in Pack 87 from Yardville, NJ to the Flag Day Ceremony last Sunday. Daniel liked seeing the different flags and he questioned their meanings. The Muzyks show and share their patriotism.

BSA Charter organization rep, Francis X. “Frank” Reilly and his wife, Deborah Colleen “Debbie” escorted both Bristol Cub Scout Pack 212 [1st-5th graders] and Boy Scout Troop 212 [6th graders- 18 years old] as they proudly participated in the program.
Their daughter, Daisy Scout Margaret “carried the 48 American star flag” and both of their sons, Hunter and Second Class rank Michael also carried flags. Tenderfoot Scout Hunter carried in the “Pine tree flag”, one of the flags used during the American Revolution. This flag, with the equally forceful and evocative motto "An Appeal to God," or, more usually, "An Appeal to Heaven", was used originally by a squadron of six cruisers commissioned under George Washington's authority as commander in chief of the Continental Army in October 1775.

Scouting develops the leaders of tomorrow. It is the largest youth development organization in the world and a leader in this country's non-formal education sector, preparing young people to play a constructive role in society and to create a better world. Thank you Reilly family!

Interesting fact:
When Alaska and Hawaii become states 49 and 50, President Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower received thousands of ideas for an updated flag when more than 1,500 flag designs were spontaneously submitted. Robert G. "Bob" Heft [1941 – 2009], a 17-year old high school student, a Boy Scout in Troop 113 from Lancaster, Ohio earned the "Starring Role”. He submitted his version that he created for a class project in 1958, and it was accepted and remains in use today. His teacher, Stanley Pratt, gave him a B- for the project, but after discussion agreed that if the flag design was accepted by the United States Congress, he would reconsider the grade.
According to Bob Heft, Mr. Pratt honored their agreement and changed his grade to an A for the project.
On July 4, 1960, Bob Heft stood next to Eisenhower as the 50-star flag was raised over the U.S. Capitol.

The goal is that all may know joy in their soul and feel pride in their heart when our flag flies over this land of the free and home of the brave! There is power in those broad stripes and bright stars.
Honored guests included Mayor Joseph A. Saxton who felt privileged to be asked to speak. He diligently and innovatively encouraged both an impassioned interest and renewed patriotic respect. 
Army veteran, E5 Sgt. Frank William Peranteau, Sr. District Court Judge reminded the audience, “We are the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave and as US citizens, we are incredibly fortunate to grow up in liberty.” Sgt. Peranteau recalled the generation of heroes who served the cause of freedom and he shared that many of the brave Vietnam War Veterans did not receive a warm welcome home, nor did they receive the respect they so richly deserve. Judge Peranteau’s father was a WWII veteran.  

In this age of political unrest, some citizens and even politicians show little respect to the flag and the nation, making it easier to become cynical and bitter. Only education can prepare the youths to be thoughtful, active citizens who have an appreciation for the basic values of our state and national heritage, who can understand and then productively function in our free enterprise society. 
The 13 horizontal stripes commemorate the 13 original colonies. The first American flag came into being thanks to the need of having a national symbol as a result of the independence of the thirteen colonies from Britain. From the sands of Iwo Jima in World War II to the sands of Fallujah, Iraq, the American colors have seen plenty of action in its days.

Army Cpl. Donald G. Mihok who served in the Korean War traveled from Montgomery County to accompany The Robert W. Bracken Post, No. 382, and the Bracken Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps, playing the percussion drum. “I also play the snare drum and I taught their current drum instructor. I have been in a drum corps since 1944.”

The flag was hoisted. People stood up from their lawn chairs and the gentlemen removed their hats with their right hand and held it at their left shoulder, their hand being over the heart as the audience looked up at the flag. It always gives me chills. It still does.
The newly raised flag waved and the ceremony concluded as boats roared down the Delaware. Freedom enjoyed!

“And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, 
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.”

Let us make a steadfast decision to purchase only American flags made by Americans in the U SA. The flag symbolizes the blood, sweat, and tears of American men and women who brought this country into existence, not our indebtedness to China and the foreboding death of the American manufacturing sector.
Americans spend over 5.3 million dollars on imported flags each year, most of them made in China. 
It’s enough to make Betsy Ross roll over in her grave.

There is nobility and courage in each action to protect and preserve values such as truth, peace, freedom and knowledge, values for which the veterans fought and held dear. The sacrifice and honor of our warriors and their families should never be forgotten.

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