BY SHERI TRUSTY
Since 1908, the Elks have been honoring the American flag with an annual observance. On Saturday, June 17, the Port Clinton Elks Lodge #1718 and Exalted Ruler William Murphy hosted a public Flag Day Ceremony to highlight the history and significance of the flag.
The first American flag was adopted by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, and today, June 14 is nationally recognized as Flag Day. Murphy said the purpose of the Flag Day Ceremony was to recognize the flag’s importance, celebrate its birthday, and “honor the achievements attained under its folds.”
He said the flag symbolizes charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity, which are also cardinal principles of the Order of the Elks.
“To be an Elk is to be an American citizen who would fight for their country and be ready to die for it,” Murphy said.
Past Exalted Ruler and Loyal Knight Dave Sorg gave an elaborate history of flags in America, adding little-known facts along the way. He said that Abraham Lincoln refused to allow stars to be removed from the American flag when southern states seceded from the Union during the Civil War. A star was added, however, when West Virginia split from Virginia to form an independent state and join the Union in 1863.
Sorg shared history about the Grand Union Flag and the “Don’t Tread on Me” snake flag called the Gadsden Flag.
“One of the most poignant flags is the POW/MIA flag. It is the only flag to fly over the White House other than the American flag,” Sorg said.
The significance of the American flag, Murphy said, is eternal.
“The flag represents our nation as it was at its birth and speaks to what it is today,” Murphy said.