Elks Celebrate Flag Day

One by one, enlisted men from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines paraded through the Elks Lodge assembly hall in Gulfport Sunday carrying all the flags that have represented our nation. They say it was a walk of honor.

"It means a lot to me, because I did sign pretty much my life onto a contract," Airman Chad Rice said. "I see a lot of people take it for granted. To see that somebody wants to step forward and celebrate something such as this, it's kind of gratifying."

Elks Lodge members say celebrating Flag Day is at the cornerstone of their organization. Not only did the Elks create the holiday, over the years they have done what they could to promote patriotism and recognize the country's acheivements so people never forget the true meaning of the stars and bars.

"It means our freedom," Mississippi Elks president Bob Williams said. "It means what this country is all about, and I don't think you could find it anywhere else in the world."

Even though there are other holidays that focus on patriotism, some people believe that Flag Day has an identity of it's own.

Exalted Ruler of the Gulfport Lodge Jacqueline Gates said "I think Fourth of July and Memorial Day [are] more family oriented. People get out and celebrate summer also on a lot of those. This is simply just to celebrate our flag."

Members of the Elks Lodge say Flag Day is not only a day to celebrate the flag but also to stop and reflect on the freedoms it symbolizes.

by Danielle Thomas