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Columbia Missourian

Flag Day held at the Columbia Elks Lodge

By Wonsuk Choi
June 13, 2010 | 6:19 p.m. CDT
Boy Scout John Hiley, 13, holds the current United States flag and salutes during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Columbia Elk's Flag Day ceremony on June 13.

COLUMBIA — From King George to the current 50-star American flag, the well-recognized United States symbol has changed as much as the country's history has. To celebrate the significance of the flag, President Harry S. Truman signed an act of Congress in 1949 to make Flag Day an official holiday.

Although Flag Day has been recognized since as early as 1777, it was Truman who made June 14 the official day. 

The evolution of the American flag

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In Columbia, members of the Elks Lodge and Boy Scout Troop 4 celebrated the holiday's 60th anniversary on Sunday by presenting six different U.S. flags from six different historical eras.

Eight Boy Scouts entered the room, which was decorated with miniature U.S. national flags around each table. Each member brought with them a different flag, including a Pine Tree flag, Snake flag, Elk flag and an Ex P.O.W flag.

"American flags symbolize everything what we stand for," John Hiley, 13, said. Hiley was holding the current 50-star U.S. flag during the ceremony.

After they swore an oath to the U.S. flag, a flag retirement ceremony followed. It was the first time for a flag ceremony since the Elks Lodge moved into its new building five years ago.

"These flags have proudly served for the country," Flag Day Committee Chairman Russell Willams said. "They need to be disposed of with dignity and properly."

To dispose a flag properly it must be folded into the traditional triangle-shape fold. The flags are then burned and the ashes are buried.

Twenty-eight U.S. flags were donated by the community to be disposed honorably.