BEACON – The Benevolent and Protected Order of Elks Beacon Lodge #1493 held their Annual Flag Day Ceremony at the Beacon Lodge on Sunday.
Exalted Ruler Robert Lanier served as master of ceremonies for the hour-long celebration of the significance and history of the American flag.
The Grand Lodge designated June 14 as flag day all the way back in 1907 and made it mandatory for each chapter of the Elks to observe this day beginning in 1911. That resolution continues to this day.
“To be an Elk is to be an American,” Lanier said during his remarks. “To be an Elk is to be an American citizen and be willing to die for it.”
Boy Scout Troop 41 was there to present the flags of the various branches of the armed services, as well as the historical flags of the United States and pre-United States colonial Americas. In total, the United States and its pre-independence incarnation have flown eight flags in its history. The current rendition of the flag has been the unaltered standard for over half a century.
Not only are the number of different flags significant to understanding the history of our national banner, but so too are the meanings of the three colors of the international symbol of America. Red stands for courage, while white represents innocence. Blue symbolizes perseverance.
Near the end of the event, Past Exalted Ruler of the lodge Atilano Rivera Jr., presented Gwen James with the citizen of the year award. James, a native of Wales, is proud not only of her association with the Elks and the lodge, but of her recent acquisition of American citizenship.
“I became an American four years ago and honestly it was so amazing seeing all the immigrants from all the different countries that day,” James said. “In fact, 80 different countries were represented on the day of my citizenship ceremony.”