The anniversary of the American flag was celebrated at Centennial Plaza Tuesday, June 14 in Old Town Clovis with the Clovis Elks Lodge annual Flag Day ceremony.
Tom Richardson, an Elks Lodge member, said Flag Day is one of many days that the Elk Lodge honors.
Richardson said the history of Flag Day for the Elks goes back to 1912 when the order of The Elks determined it was an official observance for the lodge.
“The federal government made it an official observation. So the order of Elks has always considered it to be one of our special emblems, but the observance of Flag Day coincidentally falls on the date of birth of the US Army. So our observance is two things: observing and showing our respect for the flag,” Richardson said.
Richardson said that Flag Day also serves as a source of information for anyone who attends so that they learn about our flag.
“There’s also an educational component to our particular observation, because we wish to demonstrate all of the flags, not all of most of the significant Flags over the history of our flag.
Due to COVID-19 causing the Elk Lodge to postpone their annual event last year, this year will be their fourth time hosting the Flag Day event and Richardson said that coming back with a crowd is something the Elk Lodge is thankful for.
“I would say that the Clovis community, in support of flag day in general, is very good. If you look at the merchants down Pollasky Avenue yesterday there was a renewed group of flags posted. As far as the community is concerned I think they’re respectful,” Richardson said.
In a press release from the City of Clovis Flag Day is remembered as a ceremony meant to observe the patriotic expression the day holds for many people throughout the country.
The Clovis Elks Lodge No. 2599 has celebrated the annual day of remembrance “since the early days of its organization” and this year brought some new presentations to the celebration.
This year’s Flag Day included a “presentation of colors”, alongside a brief history of the American Flag and a flag retirement.
Attendees of Tuesday’s Flag Day Ceremony also had the opportunity to hear from speaker Karey Cha, who serves as the City Clerk for the City of Clovis, speak during the ceremony.
During Cha’s speech she described “what the American flag means to me” as a first generation American from a Hmong family that immigrated to the United States.
San Jose resident Larry Clark, who was born in Clovis was also present during the ceremony and donated fifty new flags to be displayed in Old Town Clovis. Clark, who donated the flags in April of this year shared the reason behind his generosity.
“I just thought Clovis should have flags on display in the downtown area,” Clark said “I know your citizens will appreciate it.”
Richardson said that he had the chance to speak with Clark and learn more about Clark’s heritage and connection to Clovis.
“He told us that his father, Mr. Clark was not only a coach in the Clovis school system, but also was a principal,” Richardson said “he was motivated by the fact that he came for a visit to Clovis and he saw there were a few flags that that were maybe in some stages of disrepair and he felt the need to replace them with new and more sturdy flags and so he did that. With the help of the City of Clovis employees they were able to get them posted on Flag Day as it should be,” Richardson said.
Richardson described Clarks’ contributions and dedication to his communitunty as considerate and patriotic and said that he was moved by Clark.
Richardson hopes that for future events the crowds continue to grow back to the numbers that they were at before the pandemic.
“We’re happy that any and everybody comes because it is our responsibility to do the observation. It is up to the public to respond according to the way they feel about it. We do believe that as more people understand what’s taking place, more of them will come,” Richardson said.