SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerville Elks Lodge and Somerville Borough will be hosting a public Naturalization Ceremony at the Somerset County Courthouse at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Somerset County residents who migrated to America from other countries will become U.S. Citizens in a ceremony run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services. 

Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher, and former Mayor of Franklin Township, Freeholder Brian Levine and Freeholder Mark Caliguire along with Somerville Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler John Blaney will help to kick off the ceremonies at noon.

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"The program will include a re-enactment of the historic photograph of U.S. Marines raising the American Flag in Iwo Jima, Japan on February 23, 1945,"  Elks Flag Day Committee Chair Michael Minaides said. "The officers of Somerville Elks Lodge #1068 will also conduct a special “Flag Day” flag ceremony to commemorate the birth of the American Flag on June 14, 1777."

After the ceremony, the public is encouraged to take part in the free activities in downtown Somerville until 4 p.m.

"Children are encouraged to complete an interactive scavenger hunt among the exhibitors for a prize," Minaides said. "Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactors will bring alive our local history and fire their muskets as part of the ceremonies. Historic military vehicles and cool SWAT, fire and rescue vehicles will also be on display from the Somerset County Sheriff’s and Prosecutor’s Offices and from the Somerville Fire Department and Rescue Squad."

The event will also feature live music, exhibitors, and food vendors. There will also be a bounce house, an airbrush tattoo artist, and many other activities. AT&T will also have an exhibit where attendees can try the latest in virtual reality gear. 

Christopher M. Solan, an Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 84 of Somerville was this year's winner of the 2017 Flag Day Festival American Patriot Award sponsored by the Somerville Elks Club and AT&T.

Solan's project honored the American Flag flag and our country by marking out a route that was instrumental in winning our freedom and preserving this history for current and future generations.

“This young man demonstrates that love of country and of our great history is still alive among the younger generation and so the story of Chris Solan’s admirable Eagle Scout project and the history behind it should be widely shared,” Minaides said.

To learn more about the route and the project you can visit this website.

During the event, the Somerville Elks Club will also announce its Flag Art and Photography/Digital Image Contest, finalists artwork can be found on the Flag Day Festival Facebook page.

Even though the event is free, the public is encouraged to bring donation items to support Operation Jersey Cares.

Recommended items to donate include, instant oatmeal, canned tuna or chicken, granola bars, beef jerky, trail mix, or everyday items including razors, toothpaste, and shampoo.   

 More details on what to bring for the troops and the event itself can be found on the event’s website www.FlagDayFestival.org.

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