There has been much ado about the recent displays of “protest” exhibited by numerous individuals regarding the salute to our Flag during the rendition of the National Anthem.
The American flag and our devotion to it as members and Americans is woven thru the Statutes, Rules, Regulations and Rituals of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
At the very beginning of any Elks membership, an applicant shall, among other things, be “A citizen of the United States of America who will pledge allegiance to and salute our Flag.”
As Elks, we recognize the flag as “the emblem of freedom and the symbol of unity. As Americans and patriots we first place it beside our Altar. And as the American Flag typifies the glory of our Nation we have adopted it as emblematic of the cardinal principle of our Order---Charity.” Our ritualistic works are specific in requiring our attention to honoring and respecting this symbol of the land we love.
From top to bottom and left to right, the Flag is mentioned in every meeting, ritual, and service performed by the Elks. It is the first item set in place when a Lodge meeting is opened. It is given as a token to newly installed members and becomes the personal property of the recipient. It is mentioned when an Exalted Ruler is installed that he or she should …”regard that Flag that stands majestically beside the Altar….”. The ritual of Local Lodges allows an escort or Honor Guard for the Flag while it is being placed in or removed from its position at the Altar.
The Flag Day ceremony is one of the most impressive in all of Elkdom. The roots of our Flag are traced and chronicled from its beginning to its present day configuration. No matter how many times that program is recited, it always is im-pressive to recount the journeys our Flag has traveled. In fact, each Lodge is required to hold the service known as “Flag Day Services” at the time and in the manner prescribed by the Ritual of the Order.
When a Member’s day is done and the Elks Funeral Ritual is being performed, we call upon the spirit of the Flag to “…guide the immortal soul of our departed Member on its journey through eternity.”
Accordingly, as Americans and Elks we should all strive to honor and revere the Flag of our Country and ALWAYS re-member the men and women who have fought to defend it.
May God Bless America!!