City's Elks host annual Flag Day ceremony
Taunton Daily Gazette - Taunton,MA,USA
By Gerry Tuoti, Staff Writer Patriotism was on full display Monday evening as the Taunton Lodge of Elks paid tribute to Old Glory. ...
Taunton -- .Patriotism was on full display Monday evening as the Taunton Lodge of Elks paid tribute to Old Glory.
The annual Flag Day observance, a tradition at Elks lodges across the country, featured veterans groups, high school students and a procession of historic U.S. flags.
"I'm very proud of the fact that the Elks Lodges never forget Flag Day," said Elks member Donald Cleary, who served as master of ceremonies for the event.
James Strojny, president of the Massachusetts Elks, said the price of the liberty represented by the flag is continued vigilance against forces opposed to America's ideals.
"Upon its folds is written the epic of America," he said of the flag.
The Taunton High School band performed several patriotic songs, including the national anthem and "God Bless America." Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical High School student Michaela Gordon played the acoustic guitar and sang "Amazing Grace" and "The Traveling Soldier."
Members of the high school's Air Force ROTC carried a series of historic flags in a procession chronicling the evolution of the nation's official banner. The first was the "Liberty & Union" flag, which was raised on Taunton Green in 1774. It was the first flag flown in defiance of the British crown in the American colonies.
"For many years, it didn't get the attention it deserved," Mayor Charles Crowley said, adding that he is very proud of Taunton's role in American history.
The Sons of Liberty who raised the flag, he said, risked their lives. "They didn't want to be just good patriots," he said. "They wanted to be the best patriots."
Members of the Korean War Veterans of Greater Taunton, Disabled American Veterans, Taunton Area Vietnam Veterans Association and the Sons of Union Veterans were present at the ceremony.
Lee Davis, ruler of the local Elks lodge, said the flag represents charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity. "It's a symbol of self-dedication to God, country and fellow man," Davis said.