Let’s start with a little background: the first flag, called the Grand Union, was first flown at the headquarters of the Continent Army on January 1, 1776. Then on June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress proposed that the United States have a national flag instead of the British Union Jack. The 13 stars of the flag represented the 13 new states.
Patriotism has been an integral part of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks since the early days of the organization. Allegiance to the flag is a requirement of every member. In 1907, the BPO Elks Grand Lodge designated by resolution June 14 as Flag Day and subsequently adopted mandatory observance of the occasion by every Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues to this day.
There were few public ceremonies honoring the Stars and Stripes until June 14, 1877 when it was flown from every government building in honor of the centennial of the adoption of a national flag. The first official Flag Day was observed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1893. New York also proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day 1897. Other states were slow to follow. Some people thought that the day was too close to Memorial Day and Independence Day.
The Elks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the Order’s observance of Flag Day for its patriotic expression. But it was not until 1949 when President Harry Truman, himself a member of the Elks, made the proclamation that henceforth June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of our country.
Since then the President proclaims the commemoration yearly, and encourages all Americans in the country to display the Stars and Stripes outside their homes and businesses.
On June 14, 2010 Thousand Oaks Elks Lodge were privileged to continue that tradition accompanied by a Flag Retirement Ceremony. We’d like to thank the members of the Lodge, the Cub Scouts and the community for their participation.