Elks Lodge members commemorate Flag Day
HUNTINGTON -- Pullman Square brimmed with patriotic pride and history Friday evening during a Flag Day ceremony hosted by Elks Lodge 313 at the plaza.
The ceremony was one of thousands that were hosted across the country by local Elks lodges, which have put on the ceremonies since 1908, eight years before President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 as Flag Day, said Chris McGlone, Loyal Knight with the Elks. June 14 also is the anniversary of the establishment of the United States Army.
The Order of the Elks is the only fraternal body that requires a formal observance of the holiday, McGlone said.
"It's part of our tradition to uphold the virtues of the United States," he said. "When you look at the flag, it represents a lot of the principles we hold as Elks, brotherly love, charity, justice and fidelity."
The ceremony included a history of every flag to represent the U.S. from the Pine Tree flag that represented colonial vessels in the mid-1700s to today's Old Glory with 50 stars and 13 stripes.
Ed Peckham, community outreach liaison for Hospice of Huntington, was the guest speaker during the event.
He shared a message of what the flag represents in his life and how it can be perceived around the world.
"This flag is a symbol of America," Peckham said during his address. "That flag is a symbol to the world of freedom. The flag is a symbol to the world of opportunity. The flag is a symbol of prosperity, and she is a symbol, to the world, of hope."
While many spectators may have learned new information about the flag during the ceremony, McGlone said he hoped the event helped boost their sense of patriotism.
"Hopefully, what we're doing is reinforcing what they already feel," he said. "It's that sense of patriotism. It's something you can have on your own, but it seems to be the strongest when we gather as a group."
Elks Lodge 313 is located at 1015 4th Ave., Huntington.
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