Flag Day celebrated


Journal Staff Writer

Part of the Elks Association motto is “as long as there are veterans, the Elks will never forget them,” Bob Wellman, a service representative from the Michigan Elks Association who helped run this year’s Marquette Flag Day ceremony, read the quote at the event.

After a few years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans and the Michigan Elks Association hosted their annual Flag Day ceremony Wednesday.

The ceremony featured speeches from Mark Ketchum, exalted ruler of the Elks Association at Ishpeming Lodge, and U.S. Air Force veteran and Chaplain Dr. Jim Elenbaas.

It also included two of the top contestants of Michigan Elks Association Americanism Essay Contest, who read their essays.

The two local sixth graders wrote about their ideas of justice, equality and unity as well as their goals as citizens.

The essay readings were followed by a recognition of the importance of the American flag to veterans and the association, with the singing of the national songs and a teaching of the different flags throughout American history.

“We’re here for two things: to honor the American flag and to honor our veterans,” said Wellman.

“It makes you take time out and realize what the flag really means,” said Shari Smith, Jacobetti activity manager and organizer of the ceremony for the past six years.

The Elks Association is the only fraternal body to require the formal observance of Flag Day. This year the Marquette observance was a partnership between the Elks Lodges in Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette and the Jacobetti facility.

Smith emphasized the importance of hosting the event at Jacobetti to allow all their veterans to participate. Previously, she said, the event was hosted away from the home and it was limited to the number of people that could fit on Jacobetti’s bus.

“It’s an honorable thing,” said Marvin Mains, veteran and Jacobetti resident, when asked why he attends the ceremony each year.

Caroline Ray can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 543.


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