By Jeff Harrison
Local residents celebrated the Stars and Stripes on Sunday afternoon during an annual Flag Day ceremony at the Elks Lodge No. 1890 in Midwest City.
The event featured patriotic presentations, music, flag folding demonstration, flag retirement ceremony among others.
The Sooner Sensations singing group performed the National Anthem and other patriotic tunes. Naval Sea Cadets served as the honor guard for the ceremony.
State Sen. Shane Jett read the “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash. The spoken-word song tells the story about a visitor meeting an old man in a town square, and they talk about the flag and what the country has been through together.
“So we raise her up every morning. We take her down every night. We don’t let her touch the ground and we fold her up right. On second thought, I do like to brag. ‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag,” Jett read.
After the “Ragged Old Flag,” the Naval Sea Cadets demonstrated the proper way to fold the flag, while Jack Roper detailed the significance of 12 folds.
“After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today,” he said.
State President Doyle Roller delivered 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. The POW-MIA flag, used to recognize prisoners of war or those who remain missing in action, was also displayed during the presentation.
Guests also heard from members of the Elks Lodge about the importance of the flag. They then watched a video of Red Skelton detailing the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, before reciting it together.
The event concluded with a flag retirement ceremony outside the lodge.
Several elected officials attended the event. They included Mayor Matt Dukes, Reps. Max Wolfley and Andy Fugate, and Jett. Former County Clerk David Hooten performed Taps at the end of the ceremony.
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.