Flag Day: Community honors nation’s ‘Old Glory’

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Niles Elks Lodge 1322 held a special Flag Day service to honor our country's flag and to remember the many heroic events that have taken place to uphold the principles that it stands for.
The annual celebration took place in front of a small group of community members at the Riverfront Park amphitheater on Monday evening.
Pat Jaroch, the Elks Americanism district chairman, said this is an important time for our country to gather together and stand behind our flag.
The lodge also took time during the ceremony to honor Ring Lardner eighth grader Keeley Amberg for her recent second place finish in the statewide Elks American Patriotism Essay competition.
This was the best finish ever for a student competing through the Niles lodge.
Amberg was presented with a plaque and the lodge will create a trust fund to go toward her future pursuit of higher education.
Her essay is now eligible for the national competition, which will take place in Minneapolis in mid-July.
Monday's service began with some words by Niles Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Paul Leaver, who explained why they were gathered together to celebrate this important day.
Jaroch gave the audience a brief history of the progression of our country's flag from its beginnings to its current look of 13 stripes and 50 stars.
This was followed by a response from Elks Southwestern district vice president Barb Allen.
Hal Shue, of the Dowagiac Elks Lodge, gave the ceremony's oration centering on the importance of carrying on the tradition of paying respect to our country's Flag.
He recited a short reading called "I am Your Flag," in which he talked about the diminishing amount of respect the Flag has received over the passing of generations. The reading spoke from the Flag's perspective and told the story of how the symbol used to command the greatest respect and now often just receives mild patriotic gestures.
Shue went on to say Flag Day is about teaching a new generation how to honor Old Glory.