“Attention. Salute. Pledge.”
All over the country, the sounds of those instructions are voiced at churches, schools, civic events and military outposts.
The words invoked a deeper meaning on Saturday as the nation observed Flag Day and area residents were no exception.
Cleveland Elks Lodge No. 1944 held its own observance filled with song, history and patriotism.
President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed the special day in 1916 and was formally established by an act of Congress in 1949.
The nation’s banner was adopted by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
Elks Esteemed Leading Knight D.L. Carter said the day was to celebrate the anniversary of its birth and “to recall the achievements attained beneath its folds.
“Let us be dedicating ourselves to the flag of the United States of America,” said “And, may the principals of charity, justice, brotherly love and fidelity ever increase in each of us.”
He noted it was proper for the Elks to hold such a ceremony being the organization is “distinctly American, intensely patriotic and without counterpart.”
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said the flag represented the country which is the “world-wide hope of all under God to live free and do His will.
“Upon its folds is written the story of the United States — the epoch of the mightiest and noblest in all of history,” Rowland said.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said people should never forget America is “one nation under God.”
“Every day when we open up for business in the People’s House, we open in prayer and open in a Pledge to Allegiance to our flag,” Fleischmann said. “It’s a very special thing.”
One of those who wear the uniform and serves to keep the flag flying high gave the main address for the day.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to stand before you today, but it’s even more of a privilege to stand before our great flag and reflect about what it means to me,” said Major Trevor Jones of the 230 Sustainment Brigade of the Tennessee Army National Guard.
“This nation was built on sacrifice. This nation was built on commitment. To stay strong, we must sustain that commitment and that is done by remembering those who preceded us,” Jones said.
“What the flag means to me is the greatest nation this world has ever known. It’s an honor and privilege to have been born in this great nation and know the honor, privilege and sacrifice for this flag. There’s no greater thing that I could think of than to stand in this uniform today and serve the citizens of the United States, our liberties, our freedoms and our way of life.”
Members of the Boy Scouts of America Troop No.10 led the event with a procession showing the history of the flag and presenting its eight predecessors.
The Chattanooga division of the Navy Sea Cadets served as the Color Guard formally presenting the American Flag.
A musical performance by the Arnold Memorial Elementary School Chorus Group concluded the ceremony with “Live In The Heart of America” and “Rocky Top.”
Attendees were treated to and all-American lunch of hamburgers and hots dogs courtesy of the Elks Lodge membership.