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Flag Day events unfurl

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

June 10, 2006

Hood River service organizations are promoting patriotism by unfurling “Old Glory” at ceremonies next week.

The Elks Lodge hosts the second annual Flag Day celebration June 14 with an All-American Barbecue at Jackson Park. Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and soda will be served starting at 11 a.m.

At 1 p.m. June 11, the official program begins, including an explanation of Flag Day. and plenty of red, white and blue music. Keith Doroski, organizer, said the event is intended as a civics lesson for youth as well as a social outing.

“Paying respect to the flag is important because of the ideals that it represents,” said Doroski.

On June 15, the American Legion will hold a formal flag disposal ceremony at 6 p.m. The dignified service to retire and burn old flags takes place at the home of Randy Franz, 1807 Markham Road. Anyone with a worn or tattered flag is invited to drop it off at the Legion, 1305 Tucker Road, or the Elks Lodge at the junction of Third and Cascade Streets.

“We are inviting people to come out and learn about the respectful way to dispose of a flag that is no longer usable,” said Legion Commander Denny Leonard.

He said the flag is the symbol of the United States and represents the many freedoms, rights and responsibilities given to citizens. Therefore, it is always important that even an old flag be valued enough for proper treatment.

In 1907, Grand Exalted Ruler Henry Melvin recommended that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks pay tribute 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.

The Legion and Elks recommend that all citizens follow these rules when handling a flag:

* The flag should be hung or flown so it does not touch the ground, water or other objects.

* When displayed on the wall, the blue union should be in the upper left corner.

* Flag patches or pins worn should be worn over the heart.

Leonard said the 12 folds in a flag represent: the symbol of life; belief in eternity; remembrance of departed veterans; trusting God to provide strength in times of peace and war; tribute to America; loyalty to country; tribute to the armed forces for continued protection; honor of mothers; respect for the faith; love, loyalty and devotion that women mold into the character of children; honor of fathers for teaching sons to be defenders; glorification of God; and recognition of the flag as an emblem of God’s presence.

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