Each year Elks Lodges across the country gather together to honor Flag Day, a holiday that commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States of America.
The 2018 holiday falls on June 14, but members of the Plant City Lodge celebrated a day early. The ceremony includes a presentation on the evolution of the flag ranging from more obscure flags like the Pine Tree Flag of 1776, which was adopted by the Massachusetts Navy and carried by Continental forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill, to Old Glory, the current design, which was nicknamed by Captain William Driver who legend has it exclaimed, “Old Glory!” when the flag was gifted to him by his crew.
Nine flags in total were walked through the room by the Ladies of the Elks and put on display at the front of the hall. Kevin Wynne was the guest speaker for the ceremony. Wynne joined the Marine Corps after growing up listening to stories of his grandfather, who was killed in action during WWII.
Those in attendance repledged their allegiance to the flag and sang a rousing chorus of “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”
Flag Day was designated as a national holiday via an Act of Congress in 1949, however, it is still not considered an official federal holiday. All Elks Lodges nationwide, of which there are now 2,000, have taken part in the ceremony every year since 1907, a tradition that began decades before its official recognition.