The Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks Celebration of Flag Day was held at a Tuesday meeting which was open to the public. Patriotism has characterized the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America since the early days of the organization. Allegiance to the flag of our country is a requirement of every member. In 1907, the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks designated, by resolution, June 14 as Flag Day. The Grand Lodge of the Order adopted mandatory observance of the occasion by every Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues. The Elks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the Order’s observance of Flag Day for its patriotic expression. But it was not until 1949 when President Harry Truman, himself a member of the Elks, made the proclamation that thereafter June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of our country.
Elks sponsored Boy Scout Troop 603 opened the program with the Presenting of the Colors. Exalted Ruler Mike Klinger welcomed members and guests and introduced retired Air Force Veteran Jim Humphrey who recited the “History of the Flag.” Each Armed Forces Flag was displayed and compositions about each written by Lodge Lecturing Knight Lane Keran were read by Elk veterans: The United States Army by Sven Akesson – retired Army, Steve Cagnacci – retired Navy, Larry Colgan – retired Air Force, Jerrie Muir – Active Marine Corps, Lucky Walch – retired Navy, and Norm Jones – retired Navy spoke about the POW / MIA Flag. The Armed Forces Medley played by Lodge organist Andy Costello followed with veterans rising to great applause as their branch of service was played.
Lodge Leading Knight Jamie Camunas read “The Meaning of the 13 Folds”, while our nation’s Flag was folded by Veteran Lodge members Dennis Lumley, Larry Colgan, and Frank Scarpini. The inspirational program concluded with a spirited rendition of “God Bless America” by all in attendance. Refreshments and fellowship followed. Lodge #2444 is celebrating 49 years of service to Saddleback Valley Communities. It is one of 8 lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 150 year history of giving. “Elks Care Elks Share” For information regarding Elks programs or membership, call 949 830-3557.