ESCANABA, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Escanaba Elks Lodge #354 hosted its annual Flag Day ceremony at the Karas Memorial Band Shell.
According to Exalted Ruler Steve Victorson, the decades-long tradition is a duty the Elks have as the first and only fraternal organization to require a formal observance of the holiday.
“That’s why it’s important to us, because we are the promoters of Flag Day,” Victorson said.
The City Band and the Remnants Barbershop Chorus opened the ceremony with a performance of patriotic songs.
Scout Troops 410 and 411 then presented the history of the American Flag. They displayed and told the stories of each design, from the country’s earliest days to today.
“People need to know their history,” said Scout Troop 410 member Kennedy Markovich. “It’s such an important part of our nation, our state, our country.”
The Elks also recognized veterans from each branch of the military. Vietnam veteran and ceremony chairman David Wilson says the flag is an important symbol throughout the entirety of every service member’s life.
“From the time you go in the military to the time you’re buried, the flag is with you,” said Wilson. “When you’re alive, you salute the flag. When you’re passed on, you’re buried under the flag.”
Victorson says the ceremony brings Delta County together each year in recognition of Flag Day. He says it also helps everyone understand the meaning behind the stars and stripes.
Victorson hopes every veteran in attendance left feeling that their service is appreciated by their community.
“We wouldn’t be here tonight without our veterans,” he said. “They protect our country. They’re the ones that allow us today to still fly these flags.”
The Elks Lodge also collected worn-out flags to properly dispose of them. Flags can be dropped off at 510 Ludington Street.