Flag honored in annual ceremony

Flag honored in annual ceremony

By Daniel Winningham
Reading historical facts and other characteristics of the stars and stripes, coupled with another performance from the Carlinville Municipal Band, the Elks led the community in commemoration of Flag Day June 14 at the Carlinville Square.

American Legion members Don Eichen and Michael Vance carried flags along with members of the local Boy Scout troop.

Wayne Wiltshire of the Carlinville Elks Club told those in attendance the purpose of the ceremony was to “celebrate the flag’s birth and revere the accomplishments under its folds.”

Wiltshire recited the poem “I Fly Atop the World” about the U.S. flag near the end of the Flag Day ceremony.

Wiltshire said the flag is a symbol of charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity.

The first U.S. flag was authorized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

Wiltshire said the flag is the oldest of national standards of the world, out-dating even the United Kingdom’s Union Jack and the tricolored red, white and blue flag of France.

According to the Elks program, the American flag’s red stands for valor and zeal; the white reflects hope, purity and cleanliness of life; and the blue is emblematic of loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth and is the color of heaven.

The stripes represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states while the stars represent each state in the union and their individual sovereignty.

The flag began with the 13 stars arranged in a circular pattern. As more stars for more states were added, the stars were lined up in rows.

Kevin Schott, retired from the 183rd National Guard, served as the Flag Day ceremony’s featured speaker.

Schott described the meaning of the flag’s colors.

“Red proclaiming hardiness and valor, white standing for purity and innocence, and blue signifying vigilance, perseverance and justice,” Schott said. “Our flag embodies American freedom and the eternal principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The flag often is a reminder of the freedom many have fought for, and of the dangers and challenges the country faces to this day, according to Schott.

“At every disaster, be it man-made, such as Sept. 11, or more recently the horrible tornadoes in Moore, Okla., our flag gets raised and hung, a symbol of our nation, our commitment to community, compassion, of neighbors helping neighbors, of the love of our fellow citizens,” Schott said.

To see more photos from the Flag Day event, visit our gallery under the media tab.