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Old Glory laid to rest

Burning an American flag can show respect instead of dissent, a local Elks member said as Elks lodges prepared to celebrate Flag Day today.

On Wednesday night, members of the Grass Valley Elks Lodge retired several worn-out American flags by burning them on the lawn of their lodge on South School Street.

“This is actually a ceremony surrounding the retirement of the flags,” said Hardy Schwarz, chief officer of the Grass Valley Elks Lodge. “It’s a very ceremonial thing. It doesn’t have any semblance of protest.”



After the flag burning, members of the Grass Valley Elks Lodge had dinner, which was followed by presentations made in honor of the symbol of the United States of America.

The Nevada City Elks Lodge will celebrate Flag Day at 10 a.m. today, said member Maria Angulo. The celebration will be followed by a lunch buffet at the lodge on Highway 49.




Flag Day honors “the American flag and what it stands for” and respects the sacrifices people make to protect the country, said lodge member and Vietnam veteran Dan Davis.

Celebrating the day “keep(s) patriotism alive so that nobody forgets it,” Davis said.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization with chapters worldwide, said John Zurflueh, events coordinator of the Grass Valley lodge.

“Elks members host various charitable events and dinners,” Zurflueh said. “In addition, we rent out the (Grass Valley) lodge for social events.”

Elks leaders designated June 14 as Flag Day in 1907, according to the organization’s Web site, and in 1911 required every chapter to observe the day. In 1949, President Harry Truman, himself an Elks member, made Flag Day a nationwide celebration of the American flag.

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To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

For more information about Flag Day and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the USA, go to http://www.elks.org.

– The Union staff


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