MOUNT CARMEL - The Mount Carmel Elks Lodge No. 356 will conduct its annual Flag Day ceremony at the Town Park gazebo at 1 p.m. Saturday. Attendees are asked to bring their lawn chairs.

The idea of a Flag Day service was first suggested to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) by the then Grand Exalted Ruler at the 1907 Grand Lodge session in Philadelphia. Of the dates submitted for consideration at the time, June 14 was adopted by the session and was called "Elks Flag Day." The following year, the Grand Lodge approved a ritual for the Flag Day ceremony.

In 1911, the Grand Lodge made the observance of Flag Day mandatory for subordinate lodges by the adoption of the statute that states: "It shall be the duty of each subordinate lodge to hold the service known as 'Flag Day Services' at the time and in the manner prescribed by the ritual of the Order."

It wasn't until Aug. 3, 1949, when President Harry S. Truman, a member of the Elks, made the proclamation that June 14 would be a day of national observance for the symbol of the United States of America.

The BPOE was not only the first fraternal organization to celebrate Flag Day, but had made this ceremony mandatory years before the date on which the observance became a nationwide practice by legal decree.

Boy Scout Troop No. 174 will assist lodge officers with conducting this year's program by presenting the flags that were used throughout the history of our country. The guest speaker will be Edward Teevan, a past exalted ruler and current trustee of the Mount Carmel Elks Lodge. Teevan is a federal employee working for the Center for Disease Control. He was part of the disaster medical team at the site of the World Trade Center destruction on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City.

The ceremony is open to the public and all are invited to attend this patriotic program.