CARTHAGE — The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks observes Flag Day annually. According to the organization’s manual, the order is “the first and only fraternal body to require formal observance” of the holiday, and has done so since 1907. The Elks is a “distinctively American” organization that only American citizens may join and has no foreign affiliation.
According to an on online history of Flag Day, the celebration began in a Wisconsin school, on a day that commemorates the adoption of the stars and stripes as the national flag in 1777. The Elks are credited with prompting President Woodrow Wilson to officially establish Flag Day but it was not until 1949 under President Harry Truman, who was an Elk, that the day began a national holiday.
Locally the Carthage, Lowville and Watertown Elks lodges rotate the hosting of the June 14 parade. This year the event will be held Saturday in Carthage starting at 11 a.m. on Bridge Street, West Carthage, continuing across the bridge onto State Street to North School Street and end at the 511 Fulton St. lodge.
Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R-Black River, is expected to speak at the ceremony after the parade. Refreshments will be served.
Parade chairman Brian J. Scott said 50 units including six school bands, representatives of the area Elks lodges and several fire departments are expected.
The parade will act as a prelude to the St. James Fair, which begins at 11:30 a.m.
Flag Day traditionally is a time to properly dispose of tattered or torn flags. Worn flags may be dropped off at either the American Legion Post 789, 415 West St., or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7227, 668 West End Ave. The Legion will hold a flag burning ceremony Saturday at 6 p.m. and the VFW will host ceremony with the aid of the Leos on June 20, at 6 p.m.