The stars and stripes became the official flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, though at the time there were far fewer stars. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson declared that June 14 be commemorated as Flag Day.
The Milford Elks Lodge celebrated the American Flag on Sunday with a ceremony featuring musical performances by Milford High School senior Tara Holstein, who sang the National Anthem. Also on the program was a rendition of “God Bless America” by Joel Andrus, an assistant pastor at Lighthouse Christian Center and a performance of “My Country Tis of the” by former Miss Delaware Heather Lehman.
The day’s festivities also included a charitable raffle. Before the event started, members of the audience were given the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets. The winner of the raffle was given a chance to select an approved veteran’s charity, to which 100 percent of the raffle proceeds will be donated. The raffle raised roughly $300 for charity this year.
The event was attended by special guest Sen. Gary Simpson (R-Milford), Rep. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) and Rep. Dave Wilson (R-Milford). An estimated 120 people attended the event.
“Members and guests, the purpose of this service is to honor our country’s Flag, to celebrate the anniversary of its birth and to recall the achievements attained beneath its fold,” said Exalted Ruler of The Milford Elks Lodge Earl Briel.
During the hour-long ceremony Ken Dabog explained a bit about the history behind the American Flag. He explained that there were several flag designs that proceeded today’s design. At one time the northern colonies and the southern colonies flew separate flags. The northern colonies originally flew a flag that depicted a pine tree, while the southern colonies used a flag with a coiled snake and the motto “Don’t tread on me.”
In 1775, a flag to represent all 13 colonies was created. It featured the familiar stripes but instead of stars the flag featured the red cross of St. Georges and the white cross of St. Andrew, said Briel. However, that design was short lived.
“It is generally believed that in May or June of 1776, a committee consisting of George Washington,
Robert Morris and George Ross commissioned Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia Quakeress, to make a Flag from a rough design they left with her,” Briel said.
One of the ceremony’s key themes examined the flag’s meaning to the people of the United States.
“The greatest significance of this flag, however, lies in the influence is has in the hearts and minds of millions of people,” said Patti Deplasco, a Milford Elks Lodge member. It has served as a beacon for millions of poor and oppressed refugees abroad and stands as a promise that the underprivileged will not be forgotten.”
Page 2 of 2 - Guest speaker Jan Seitz focused on the opportunities that the United States has provided to her and shared her personal experiences of how the American Flag touched her life in meaningful ways.
“Overall, the program was a huge success,” said Michael Nauman, a member of the Elks Lodge Flag Day Committee.