Patriotism has characterized the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America since the early days of the organization. Allegiance to the flag of our country is a requirement of every member. In 1907, the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks designated, by resolution, June 14 as Flag Day. The Grand Lodge of the Order adopted mandatory observance of the occasion by every Lodge in 1911, and that requirement continues. The Elks prompted President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the Order's observance of Flag Day for its patriotic expression. But it was not until 1949 when President Harry Truman, himself a member of the Elks, made the proclamation that thereafter June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of our country. It was through his Elks Lodge in Independence, Missouri, that President Truman got the idea for a national observance of Flag Day.
From the Red Skelton Hour, January 14, 1969 as remembered and performed by Red Skelton (1913-1997):
I had this one teacher, he was the principal of the Harrison School, in Vincennes, Indiana. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance one day, and he walked over. This little old teacher - Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said: "I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"
I me, an individual, a committee of one. Pledge dedicate all my worldly goods to give without self-pity. Allegiance my love and my devotion. To the Flag our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job. Of the United that means that we have all come together. States individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common cause, and that's love of country. Of America. And to the Republic a republic - a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people. For Which it Stands, One Nation meaning, so blessed by God. Indivisible, incapable of being divided. With Liberty which is freedom and the right of power to live one's life without threats or fear or any sort of retaliation. And Justice the principle and quality of dealing fairly with others. For All. Which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.
And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance –"under God."(1954)
Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer," and that would be eliminated from our schools too?
©1969 Richard "Red" SkeltonRichard Bernard "Red" Skelton was born July 18, 1913, in Vincennes, Indiana Red Skelton died in Rancho Mirage, California. on Sept. 17, 1997 Red Skelton is a U.S. Army veteran of World War Two (1944-1945) "Good night, and may God bless."
History of Flag Day and the Pledge Of Allegiance