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Many veterans were present for the Flag Day ceremony on the USS Edson.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Flag Day Celebrated on the USS Edson

The Order of the Elks delivers an inspirational ceremony honoring the Flag

June 19, 2016       1 Comments
By: John Keuvelaar

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Flag Day is yet another moment that we pause and honor the men and women of the military who have fought so bravely to keep our country free and great. But it is more than just the present issues and conflicts that our great land has endured. It is a time to reflect on the history of the nation and what our country stands for symbolized by the US Flag. The Order of the Elks teamed up with the USS Edson to deliver an inspirational message of how important the flag symbolizes our heritage.

Judge Tim Kelly led everyone in the "Star Spangled Banner."
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Harbor Sounds sang a few patriotic songs throughout the ceremony.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The Bay County Boy Scouts Troop 150 waited to perform their part in the ceremony.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The program was started by District Judge Tim Kelly leading all in the singing of our Star Spangled Banner. Assisted by Boy Scout Troop 150, Elk dignitaries laid the groundwork for what the flag symbolizes in single words. As each flag was explained, a couple troop members marched the flag to its position behind the podium showing the transition of its development. One by one our flag was presented starting with the original 13 colony circular stars each representing a different colony or state. Next, two more stars were added creating a row pattern. The next expansion was 20 stars followed by 28 stars before finally our present 50-star pattern.

Two Boy Scouts bring the original flag bearing thirteen stars for each of the original colonies.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Final showing of the different forms of the US flag.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Bay City Elk Exalted Ruler Kellie J. Snyder told the history of the progression of the flag.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The Harbor Sounds, a men's vocal group, fired up the crowd with beautiful renditions of flag favorite songs before Representative Charles Brunner took the podium. Rep. Brunner read some stirring stories of battles fought for our freedom which was a perfect segue into the keynote speaker, Sgt. Douglas Szczepanski. The sergeant, a Purple Heart recipient, spoke from a personal perspective of what the flag means around the world and how it symbolizes our country. Tales of respect, safety and hope were shared when he and his fellow military members entered various regions around the world.

The ceremony was capped off by the Honor Guard Firing Squad giving a military salute accompanied by one of the side guns from the USS Edson. Those shots echoed off the shores and down the river bank toward the bay making us all thankful they didn't use any of the main guns. Taps followed leaving chills with all who were present.

State Rep. Charles Brunner talked of the many battles during the ceremony.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Iraq War veteran Sgt. Douglas Szczepanski and Purple Heart recipient gave his view on what the US flag means to him.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The Bay County Veteran Honor Guard gave a gun salute.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Veteran Honor Guard Trumpet player plays Taps at the end of the ceremony.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The Elks did a magnificent job presenting the honor of our Country and what the Flag symbolizes. While standing on the deck of the USS Edson with so many veterans and their families around, one couldn't help but feel proud to be an American.

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margeryandpaul Says:       On July 11, 2016 at 10:24 AM
That was the most impressive Flag Day that I have seen in many years-------always loved Bay City and this proves how great it still is. Margie Mitchell
Agree? or Disagree?

John Keuvelaar

John Keuvelaar is a college student at Midwest Photography Workshops and Delta College.

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