By Jeff Harrison
The red, white and blue were on full display Sunday afternoon at the Elks Lodge No. 1890.
The group hosted its annual Flag Day celebration to remember the history behind one of the most important American symbols.
The observance featured patriotic presentations, music, a flag folding demonstration, flag retirement ceremony and more.
The Vocal Sounds of Oklahoma singing group presented a medley of patriotic tunes. U.S. Navy Sea Cadets and officers from the Oklahoma Elks Association participated in the ceremony and presentations.
After posting the colors, the cadets demonstrated the proper way to fold the American flag, while Lauren Chaney detailed the significance of each of the 12 folds.
“The flag folding ceremony represents the same principles on which our country was originally founded,” she said.
Greg Gilbert, Oklahoma Elks President, explained the history of the flag. Eight flags were presented and posted in chronological order. They included the Pine Flag, Snake Flag, St. George/St. Andrews Flag, Betsy Ross Flag, 15 Stars/15 Stripes Flag, 20 Stars and 13 Stripes, 48-Star Flag and 50-Star Flag.
Guests later heard from members of the Elks Lodge about the importance of the flag before watching a video of Red Skelton detailing the meaning of the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
The event concluded with a flag retirement ceremony. The Navy cadets were presented with three worn and tattered flags for retirement. The crowd then followed outside where the flags were cremated.
After the service, a free lunch was provided by the Lodge.
Elected officials were also on hand for the event. Mayor Matt Dukes, State Rep. Andy Fugate, Sen. Brenda Stanley, and County Assessor Larry Stein were in attendance.
About 100 people attended the Flag Day celebration.
The Elks Lodge has been celebrating the birth of the flag since 1907. The Grand Lodge adopted mandatory observance of the occasion by every Elks Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues.