TOGUS – The Maine Elks Association held its annual Flag Day services at the Togus VA Hospital on June 14. The ceremony was performed in the chapel before 75 veterans, staff members and guests. Association President James Ferland of Sidney was Master of Ceremonies.

The event began with the National Anthem sung by Frances Hodgkins of Norridgewock, followed by introductory exercises performed by officers and past officers dressed in formal attire. Each officer gave a tribute to the American flag.

Phil Whitehawk offered a musical interlude. A prayer was offered by acting Chaplain Robert Drisko of Chelsea, and the history of the flag was given by Grand Inner Guard Andrew Constantine of Bangor.

During the reading of the history, exalted rulers presented the flags being described. Flags presented were the Pine Tree Flag of 1775, the Snake Flag of 1776-1777, a flag bearing the red cross of St. George and the white cross of St. Andrew of 1775, the Grand Union Flag of 1777, the Fort McHenry Flag of 1812, the 20-star flag of 1818, the 48-star flag, and today’s 50-star flag. Ferland gave a tribute to the flag, and a response was given by association Esquire Phil O’Brion of Jay. Past State President Donald Richard of Farmington read from a piece called “Hello, Remember Me,” an essay depicting the flag’s point of view toward Americanism today.

Frances Hodgkins led those in attendance in a chorus of “God Bless America.” The service ended with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The association provided a barbecue lunch for those who attended. Participating in the services and lunch were Ferland of Sidney (Presque Isle Lodge), Luis Morales of West Rockport (Rockland Lodge), Richard of Farmington (Rumford Lodge), Claris Ranger of Wilton (Farmington Lodge), O’Brion of Jay (Farmington Lodge), Andrew Constantine of Bangor (Bangor Lodge), Robert Drisko of Chelsea (Augusta Lodge) and others.

For more information on the Elks, visit, or visit the local Elks Lodge.

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