LEWISTON – The Lewiston Lodge of Elks 371 held its annual Flag Day services on June 13 to commemorate the 227th birthday of the nation’s flag.

More than 40 attended the services, including members of the Elks, the Lewiston Emblem Club 528, Poland Boy Scout Troop 125, the Lewiston Fire Department and several veterans organizations. The services were opened by Exalted Ruler Robbie Gagne and the lodge officers, who each paid tribute to the flag.

Two color guards led a parade of historic flags, which were introduced, along with their history, by Past Exalted Ruler Elmer Berry. The color guards included representatives of the Lewiston Fire Department and the Franco-American War Veterans.

Patriotic music flowed in the background as members of Lewiston Emblem Club 528 displayed each flag. The flags consisted of the Pine Tree Flag, the Snake Flag (Don’t Tread on Me), the Flag of 1775, the Grand Union Flag, the 15-Star “Star-Spangled Banner” of 1814, the 20-Star Flag of 1818, the 48-Star Flag and the 50-Star Flag, carried by Andrew Cotterly of Poland Boy Scout Troop 125 to the playing of the National Anthem.

At the conclusion of the flag history, a response was given by Past Exalted Ruler Christopher Gendron, who noted the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He also noted the importance of remembering the event and the soldiers who are carrying the flag in the villages of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.

Flag Day, it is said, began more than 100 years ago in a one-room schoolhouse in Fredonia, Wis., when a 19-year-old school teacher by the name of Bernard J. Cigrand arranged exercises for his students to be held on “Flag Birthday.” The purpose was to celebrate the birth of the nation’s flag on June 14, 1777, when the Second Continental Congress passed an act to establish an official flag for the country.

Cigrand, who later became a professor of dentistry and a college dean, began a lifelong crusade to honor the adoption of the flag.

Cigrand’s devotion was rewarded in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 as National Flag Day. In 1949 President Harry Truman signed an act of congress that proclaimed the flag of the United States would be displayed on all government buildings on June 14, and he asked that the American people join in the observance of the flag’s anniversary. The act made Flag Day a permanent observance.

For more information on the Elks organization, contact the Lewiston lodge at 784-4801 or visit www.elks.org.


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