Signed in as:
Signed in as:
by Stephen Gates
As I watch the different news programs, I am struck by how the sentiments of the public seem to be shifting on tenets we have long held dear. I thought this month might be a good time to reinforce our beliefs as an Order, and hopefully as individual Americans. I am going to paraphrase some of the writings of our Grand Exalted Ruler, T. Keith Mills in his prose about Americanism in the 2021-2022 Grand Lodge Program booklet “Meeting the Challenge” :
Elks are first and foremost Americans who have always been proud to display and honor the flag of our country. This is especially important as some of our citizens seek to have the words “Under God” stricken from our Pledge of Allegiance to that emblem of freedom and symbol of unity.
Showing our patriotism as Elks is easy. Wear a pin of our country’s flag on your lapel. Salute our flag as it passes in parades or when the Star-Spangled Banner is played. By taking part in these simple actions, you are exhibiting your love of country and sharing your understanding of the great sacrifices that have been made by the men and women of our armed forces.
The Elks have always been there to support our flag and those who defend it. We must continue to take every opportunity to inform the public about our Americanism programs. When we honor the flag of our country, we not only honor the principles for which it stands, but also those who sacrifice so much in its defense. We honor past generations who ensured our liberty with the Declaration of Independence and those who forged the Constitution. We pay tribute to those who fought tyranny at home and on foreign soil, and those who presently serve to protect our freedom from those who try to undermine it.
The Grand Lodge Americanism Program offers many programs for individual Lodges, schools and communities. I will be presenting classroom flags to several of our local schools this month and use what time I am afforded there to speak about the Elk’s passion for this cause. We need to instill our core beliefs of and about Americanism into the coming generations.
As we think about the prior generations and their contributions, we should all remember that the month of November brings us Veteran’s Day. It is when we honor men and women who have served in the United States armed services. Veteran’s Day is a legal holiday in the United States. It is celebrated on November 11th. The hour of eleven does indeed have a tender significance. We know from history that General John Joseph Pershing was largely responsible for the specific time and date for the Armistice that ended World War I. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month was all due to Pershing’s affinity for our Order, as he was allowed to pick the month, day and time of the signing of the paperwork. It follows then, that Veteran’s Day is celebrated in November on that date.
Please take time to thank a Veteran for their service to our Country and to us all!! In keeping with our long-held beliefs as an Order, Lodge members are encouraged to fly the flag at home. The month of November, especially, as we honor the memory of heroes…of common men and women, patriots one and all. Please fly your flags with pride and patriotism!! Should you attend a parade or Veterans’ remembrance, please salute our flag as appropriate to the ceremony.
We must ensure that our long-held traditions survive for future generations.
MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA!!