Wareham-New Bedford Lodge of Elks salutes American flag
The American flag’s different iterations, from the famous “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsen flag to today’s stars and stripes, were all flown Sunday during the annual Wareham-New Bedford Lodge of Elks No. 73 ceremony.
“The purpose of this service is to honor this country’s flag,” said Exalted Ruler Joan Serverson. “Elks are distinctly American and intensely patriotic.”
Held in honor of Flag Day, the event featured brief histories of the nation’s flags through the years and comments from Senior Chief Bill Ostrander, of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Elks take great pride in honoring the flag, said Past Exalted Ruler Charles Anson.
“The Elks are the first, and only, fraternal organization to require observance of Flag Day,” he said.
Sunday’s event featured a large American flag hung from the Wareham Fire Department’s ladder truck, patriotic songs and remarks from Elks and others. Each flag was paraded in front of the roughly 50-person crowd by Massachusetts Maritime Academy students.
In his speech, Ostrander, a 23-year veteran of the Navy, told those gathered just what the flag meant to him and his fellow service men and women.
“It is my duty to repay the debt of blood, sweat and tears of those that went before me, those that are with me and those that will inevitably continue on,” he said.