Pelham Flag Day celebration honors America

The Marine Corps League and John Gaydon of the Cahaba Valley Lodge reenact the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. (Ashley Williams / Special to the Reporter)

The Marine Corps League and John Gaydon of the Cahaba Valley Lodge reenact the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. (Ashley Williams / Special to the Reporter)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—“How many of you are proud to be Americans?” Larry Tidwell of patriotic musical Homeland asked, eliciting cheers and applause from a crowd of veterans and patriotic Americans gathered at the Pelham Civic Complex for the sixth annual Flag Day celebration on June 14.

The Flag Day celebration was just one of many patriotic and informative events sponsored by the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge throughout the year. The star-spangled day offered something for all ages, with historical presentations, sing along music and a flag retirement ceremony.

Members of the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge led attendees through a visual history of the American flag, beginning with the pine tree flag raised by colonists in 1775 and concluding with today’s 50 star flag.

The flags of each branch of the United States armed forces were also presented and honored, and a reenactment of the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima was performed.

Between performances, Tidwell and Ed Jones of Homeland led the crowd in patriotic songs, from classics such as “My Country Tis of Thee” and “God Bless America” to contemporary favorites such as Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

“If that doesn’t get your red white and blue going, I don’t know what will,” Shelby County Commissioner and event emcee Rick Shepherd said of Homeland’s performance.

This year’s Flag Day celebration also recognized the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem as all joined in singing the Star Spangled Banner.

The event concluded with a solemn flag retirement ceremony led by the Boy Scout Troop No. 5, who had prepared “unfitting” American flags to be burned. Flags were cut, separating red stripes, white stripes and the star spangled blue corner. Strips were placed in a fire, followed by the blue corners and taps played while all saluted the retired flag.