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Elks hope for strong attendance at Flag Day

BEMIDJI — Members of the Bemidji Elks Lodge 1052 are hoping for a strong turnout today for their annual Flag Day ceremony at noon at Ralph Gracie Park.

Flag Day is a national observance with close ties to the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, said Bill Batchelder, exalted ruler of Bemidji Elks Lodge 1052. It was the Elks who initially designated June 14 as Flag Day and lobbied President Woodrow Wilson to establish it as a national day of honor in 1916.

Flag Day is celebrated June 14 to honor the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

During today’s ceremony, proclamations will be read honoring the United States flag, and eight eras of flags representing the United States will be displayed.

Also as part of the ceremony, two local students, Riley Berg and Dax Maxwell, will read their state-winning essays on "Americanism." Both Berg and Maxwell are students at St. Philip’s School in Bemidji and both won their statewide divisions, sixth-grade for Berg and seventh-grade for Maxwell, in the state essay contest. It’s quite an accomplishment to have two state winners from one school, Batchelder said.

In conjunction with today events, Bemidji American Legion Post 14 and the Elks Lodge will host a dignified disposal of unserviceable flags.

Any flag that is worn and considered unserviceable can be brought to the service or can be taken to the American Legion, 217 Minnesota Ave., before the ceremony.