Letters to the Editor

Bradenton Elks mark Flag Day

The Pops Orchestra will perform a free Flag Day concert in Sarasota National Cemetery.
The Pops Orchestra will perform a free Flag Day concert in Sarasota National Cemetery. PROVIDED PHOTO

The Bradenton Elks No. 1511 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks went back to its roots in marking Flag Day on June 12 —the commemoration of the national symbol. “It’s a celebration of the history of the American flag,” Susan Erwin, Exalted Ruler, said.

In 1606, the field of the English flag changed to blue and the cross of St. Andrew was placed on it, giving the flag the name “the Union of the King’s Colors.” The field color changed from blue to red in 1607, and the two crosses on the field were placed in the corner.

The American Colonies then created their own official flag, called the Pine Tree flag, which was flown on all colonial vessels and carried in the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1776, Congress commissioned a committee to design a common flag for our country, which became a flag of alternating stripes of red and white with 13 stars.

Sunday’s presentation afforded the members and public an opportunity to see replicas of nine of America’s flags, from the Pine Tree banner to the first Stars and Stripes with its 13 stars to the current flag. Each presentation was accompanied by a brief history of the flag being displayed and presented by members of the Sarasota Air Patrol Cadets.

While efforts to create a day to honor the flag stretched over several years in different locations, it was the Elks who passed a resolution designating June 14 as Flag Day in 1907. President Woodrow Wilson recognized the Elks’ observance of Flag Day; however, June 14 was not made a national holiday until 1949 when President Harry Truman signed it into law.

Jeff Mitchell