Elks salute the Star Spangled Banner

Cahaba Valley Elks member Leon Johnston presents the Star Spangled Banner June 12 during a Flag Day celebration at the Pelham Civic Complex. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham-based Cahaba Valley Elks Club took time to salute the American flag while giving visitors a history lesson on the country’s symbols through the ages during a Flag Day celebration June 12 at the Pelham Civic Complex.

During the ceremony, which was held two days before the nation’s Flag Day to commemorate the birth of the American flag, members of the Cahaba Valley Elks, visitors and Pelham officials honored those who have served our country.

“We’ve got too many people in our country that have forgotten the flag,” said Pelham Mayor Don Murphy. “We need to change that.

“We need a revitalization of the flag and what it stands for, and our country and what it stands for,” Murphy said.

The event also featured musical performances by local students Emma Baker, Payton Tanner and Michael Bullington. Members of the North Shelby-based Boy Scout Troop 5 presented the flags of each branch of the armed forces as visitors applauded the veterans in attendance.

“If this is any indication of the future of our country, I’m proud to say I’m an American,” program Chairman John Gaydon said of the trio of local singers. “It’s awful that they don’t get the same attention as those who break the law. I wish these kids could be on the front of our newspapers every day.”

Members of the Cahaba Valley Elks presented each of the nation’s historical flags, which included the Pine Tree Flag, the Gadsden Flag, the Grand Union Flag, the Betsy Ross Flag, the 15-star Flag, the 20-star Flag, the 48-star flag, the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Flag and the 50-star Flag.

Cahaba Valley Elks member Ron Kenny urged those in attendance to ensure the United States of America’s values and freedoms are passed down and cherished by generations to come.

“Extinction is the inability to continue. Generation is the act of continuing,” Kenny said. “Freedom is given to each generation and passed down to the next generation.

“If each generation does not pass on freedom to the next generation, and if the next generation does not accept it and fight for it, we will be talking to our children and grandchildren about what it was like to live in an America where men were free,” Kenny added.