Elks unfurl public Flag Day ceremony

June 8, 2005

The Hood River Elks Lodge is staging its first public Flag Day celebration on Sunday in Jackson Park.

“This is going to be a red, white and blue patriotic event that is typical of an old-fashioned Fourth of July barbecue,” said organizer Keith Doroski.

He said the ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. with a lesson on the evolution of the flag’s design by area Boy Scout troops. Elks leaders will then demonstrate their annual ritual to show respect for the nation’s colors. Following the pageantry, Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, will present information how the flag inspires as a symbol of freedom, liberty and unity. To underscore that message, a huge battalion flag donated by the Hood River Armory will be suspended between two Pacific Power and Light boom trucks as the official backdrop.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., could not be present but has dedicated a flag flown over the nation’s capital to veterans in the war on terrorism.

Once the official ceremonies have been completed, the band Gunshy takes center stage to entertain with a variety of music. Elks members will serve hot dogs and hamburgers and all proceeds will be donated toward the service organization’s veterans programs.

Doroski invites parents to bring their children to the park on 13th Street for a civics lesson. He said not only is Flag Day an opportunity to provide younger Americans with valuable education, they can also enjoy some quality social time together.

“This is just going to be good wholesome fun. Let’s all bring the lawn chairs and have a great day in the park,” he said.

American Legion Post 22 members will collect old flags at the park and retire them at a formal disposal ceremony on June 14.

In 1907, Grand Exalted Ruler Henry Melvin recommended that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) pay respect to the flag each year. That suggestion was adopted by the Grand Lodge in Philadelphia and June 14 of that year was designated as Flag Day. Forty-seven years later, the Elks convinced Congress to recognize the flag and in 1954 President Harry Truman, also an Elks member, signed Flag Day into law.

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