Give Old Glory her due by celebrating


The Tribune

Today is Flag Day. While it’s not a designated federal holiday, let alone a Monday holiday when many people get a day off, it’s still a day worth noting.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Interestingly, it was also in 1916 that Wilson declared “The Star-Spangled Banner” as our national anthem.

Flag Day prompts no official parades, and many people don’t think to put out an American flag that day. But the Scouts and the American Legion honor the day every year and so do many Elks Clubs around the country.

Seymour Elks Lodge 462 has been holding a Flag Day ceremony for decades. The informative program, well worth the price of admission — free, includes a history of America’s flags.

The program has been held for many years at One Chamber Square, but this year it will be held at 6 p.m. today on the patio of the Elks Lodge at 117 E. Second St.

Thanks to Seymour Elks Lodge, many local school can tell you the 13 alternating red and white stripes on today’s flag each represent one of the original 13 colonies, and the 50 stars are there for each of the 50 states.

Flag Day is a time to think about the values such as freedom and sacrifice our flag symbolizes. Without the sacrifice of those who fought and died for those principles, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the freedoms we do today.

Before the 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis last month, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana stationed themselves on the steps of the Indiana War Memorial and collected worn-out U.S. flags. They gave full-size flags to many of those who brought an old one. The flags that were collected will be retired during ceremonies this summer at Girl Scout day camps and resident camps.

The Boy Scouts have similar programs, as do other veterans organizations, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and Amvets.

Any flag bearing the stars and stripes of the United States should not be flown when its condition is no longer fit for display, according to U.S. Flag Code. And, any flag fitting this description should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Many people incorrectly believe that if a flag ever touches the ground it has to be destroyed. If it’s still a perfectly good flag, then it can be flown again. But when a flag is frayed, faded or ripped, that’s when you properly dispose of the flag.

So while we might not have the day off from work and you won’t find a display of greeting cards about it, Flag Day remains a venerable and living part of our American heritage.

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Flag Day often is overlooked on the calendar.

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Scouts and veterans group work to keep the traditions of Flag Day and flag etiquette alive.


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