Public invited to Seymour Elks Flag Day ceremony

The public is invited to attend a Flag Day ceremony with a history of the U.S. flag.

It’s set for 11 a.m. Monday on the patio of Seymour Elks Lodge 462 (also Brewskies Downtown), 117 E. Second St., Seymour.

The Seymour Elks Lodge has held a Flag Day ceremony for many years. Patriotism has characterized the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks since the early days of the organization. Allegiance to the flag of our country is a requirement of every member.


In 1907, the BPO Elks Grand Lodge designated by resolution June 14 as Flag Day. The Grand Lodge of the Order adopted mandatory observance of the occasion by every Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues.

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 thereafter, June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of our country.

With Flag Day coming up Monday, members of the Seymour Elks Lodge have recalled Americanism programs given at their state conventions in French Lick. One particular program was given by Don Hill, who at the time was the Indiana Elks Americanism chairman.

Seymour lodge members thought it was worth sharing:

Mr. Harry Knight, he himself an Elk, was teaching current events at Seymour High School. The class was discussing the Iranian situation. This was in 1979 when a group of Iranians took hostage 52 of our diplomats. This had been going on for nearly a year.

One of the students asked, “Mr. Knight, what can we do about it?”

Harry explained we were having diplomatic discussions and trying to solve the crisis. “No, no, I mean what can we, here in the class, what can we do about it?”

Harry told them they should show their respect for our country by honoring the flag, reciting the pledge and doing things to show their patriotism.

With that in mind, one of the students, Danny Kieser, got up and took the classroom flag down and left the room. Keep in mind the classroom flags were placed there by the Seymour Elks as one of their national projects. Danny proceeded to run around the school grounds holding high the American flag.

Each day, exactly the time the hostages were taken captive, a student in Mr. Knight’s class would quietly get up and run the flag. This went on until the hostages were released. On the 444th day, the hostages were released, and the students handed the flag to Mr. Knight and said, “Today, you run the flag.”

That day, Mr. Knight ran the flag, and behind him were hundreds of students and faculty following behind.

Hill reported at the state convention, “No better Americanism program can we present here today. I would like to introduce Mr. Harry Knight and his classroom flag.”

Harry came in the large banquet hall of 300 to 400 conventiongoers and ran around the room holding high his American flag. The audience went wild, standing, applauding and cheering.

Seymour’s Americanism program is still talked about at state conventions today.

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What: Seymour Elks Lodge 462 Flag Day ceremony

When: 11 a.m. Monday

Where: At the lodge (also Brewskies Downtown), 117 E. Second St., Seymour

Who: Open to the public


Julia Aker and Don Hill are members of Seymour Elks Lodge 462. Send comments to [email protected]