Summit, NJ - Despite brooding skies and the threat of rain, Old Glory shone through as the Summit Elks Lodge No, 1246 hosted Summit's annual Flag Day Commemoration and Celebration on Friday. Village Green was bathed in red, white and blue as many dignitaries, including Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson, joined hundreds of citizens in paying homage to the symbol of our country.
Bob Peacock, Chairman of the Americanization Committee for the Summit Elks, said Flag Day is about reflecting on what it means to be an American. "This is a great country we live in, and this is a great way to celebrate how fortunate we are." Befitting such an occasion, there was a significant amount of celebratory activities, including song, words and ceremonies all lauding the pride the flag engenders.
The Continuo Arts Foundation's Civic Chorale performed a variety of patriotic songs, including Columbia, Gem of the Ocean, America, My Country Tis of Thee, God Bless America, and The Star-Spangled Banner. A history lesson in the evolution of the flag was provided by Special Scout Venture Crew 1246, as members paraded the various versions of the flag -- from the 1775 Pine Tree Flag carried in the Battle of Bunker Hill to the 48 Star Flag -- through a flag-lined path to the front of the stage. They were then joined by the present-day, 50 Star Flag as presented by the Summit Police Honor Guard.
A stirring yet somber ceremony was held retiring service-worn flags. Several such flags were brought forward by Elks members and then turned over to a Summit Department Honor Guard for cremation, as Taps was played by the Summit High School Brass Ensemble and the Summit Police Honor Guard fired a salute. "Today these colors are tattered and faded. They have served their country with honor and distinction. They have now reached the end of their patriotic journey. May the fundamental virtues for which they waved be ever embedded in our hearts and souls", said Anthony Plesh, Jr., Summit Elks Exalted Ruler.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day, honoring the adoption of the flag of the United States on that same date in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.