On June 14, 2016, the Lodge held a Flag Day Ceremony. It included a reading of the history of our great flag during a Parade of Flags. (See all the photos from the Ceremony in the Photo Gallery.) I have included the full text of the reading of the History.
The United States Flag- It’s History
Heraldry is as old as the human race. The carrying of banner has been a custom among all peoples in all ages.. These banners usually contain some concept of the life or government of those who fashioned them.
The evolution of the American Flag marks the progression of the government of the American people.
From the founding of Jamestown in 1607, until 1775, the Flag of England was the flag of the peoples of America.
In 1775, the Pine Tree Flag was adopted for all colonial vessels and this was the banner carried by the Continental forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The southern colonies used the Snake Flag from 1776 – 1777.
In the later part of 1775 the Continental Congress appointed a committee to consider the question of a single flag for the thirteen colonies. That committee recommended a design on thirteen alternate stripes of red and white, with an azure filed in the upper corner bearing the red cross of St George and the white cross of St Andrew. John Paul Jones, the senior Lt of the flagship “Alfred”, hoisted this flag to the masthead on December 3, 1775, and one month later it was raised over the headquarters of general George Washington at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in “compliment” as he wrote, “to the United Colonies”.
This flag, called the “Continental Colors” and the “Grand Union”, was never carried in the filed by the Continental land forces, but was used by the Navy as it’s exclusive ensign, and was the first American Flag to received a salute of honor, a salute of eleven gins from the Fort of Orange in the Dutch West Indies.
In the response to a general demand for a banner more representative of our country, the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, provided- “That the Flag of the United States be thirteen stripes of alternating red and white, and that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue filed, representing a new constellation.”
It is generally believed that in May or June of 1776, a committee consisting of George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross commissioned Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia Quakeress, to make a flag from a rough design they left with her. It is said that she suggested that the stars should have five points rather than six.
This starry banner was first flown at Fort Stanwix, called fort Schuyler at that time, near the City of Rome, New York, on August 3, 1777, and was under attack three days later at the battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777 during a British and Indian attack.
The first official salute to the Star and Stripes was given on February 14, 1778 by France on the French coast, when the “Ranger”, under the command of John Paul Jones, was saluted by the French Fleet.
This flag, then carried by the “Ranger”, was made by the young women of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from strips of their best colored silk dresses and the white wedding gown of a receint bride.
It is said that this same “Ranger’s” flag was flown by Jone’s ship, the “Bon Homme Richard” in it’s thrilling fight by moonlight upon the high seas, with the British frigate “Serapis”. When the Serapis struck her colors, the immortal fame of John Paul Jones was insured as the intepid defender of the youthful republic.
The original thirteen Stars ans Stripes represented the original thirteen colonies. In 1795, 2 additional stars and stripes were added to represent the admission to the Union of Vermont and Kentucky. Under this banner was fought the War of 1812. It was the sight of it flying over Fort McHenry, on September 14, 1814, that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what later became our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Miss Margaret Young, who cut the stars for that banner, was the mother of Henry Sanderson, the Grand Exalted Ruler of the Order of Elks in 1884.
The Congress, on April 14, 1818, adopted a resolution that on and after July 4, 1818, the number of stripes should be thirteen and that the blue filed should carry one star for each of the 20 states in the union and that a new star should be added for each state thereafter admitted.
Since 1818, there have been no changes in the flag design except the twenty eight new stars were added before July 4, 1912 and this flag of 48 stars flew over this nation for forty seven years until just before the Vietnam War.
On July 4, 1959 a star was added for Alaska, our first non-connected state and a year later, Hawaii, our islad state added a 50th star. Our present flag, has 50 stars and thirteen stripes.