Inspiring National and Civic Pride
Since the earliest days of the Order, patriotism has been among the many hallmarks that make the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk stand out from other fraternal organizations. With a membership composed entirely of U.S. citizens, the BPO Elks is committed to promoting the principles of individual freedom, opportunity, and dignity.
The Stars and Stripes
Elks have always been moved in the presence of the flag of the United States of America, which is why, in 1907, Elks members adopted a resolution designating June 14 as Flag Day. In 1911 the Grand Lodge mandated that all local Lodges observe Flag Day with appropriate ceremonies, making the Elks the first national fraternal organization to require the observance of Flag Day. Finally, on August 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman, himself a member of the Order, permanently designated June 14 as Flag Day by signing an act of Congress.
But observing Flag Day isn’t the only way that the Order demonstrates its deep reverence for the banner that symbolically embodies the values of the nation. Many lodges give or sell flags to worthy groups and provide training in proper flag etiquette. Some lodges even provide flags for newly sworn citizens, while other lodges give flags to their local schools for display in the classroom and provide educational materials to help grade school students learn the Pledge of Allegiance.
Each year, Elks across the country sponsor essay contests that encourage elementary and high school students to explore why the flag is important in their lives. Lady Liberty.
At the 1983 national convention, the Elks passed a resolution endorsing the Liberty Centennial Campaign’s work to restore the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and pledging its full support to the campaign. For its part, the Order vowed to raise one million dollars in three years. Elks from across the country enthusiastically responded to the Order’s pledge, and by 1986 the Order had exceeded its original goal, contributing more than $1.38 million to restore this treasured symbol of the nation’s promise of freedom and opportunity.
The National World War II Memorial
In 1999, the members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks gladly approved a resolution pledging an amount equal to one dollar per member to the National World War II Memorial. The memorial, which has been built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. will preserve the memory of the more than 16 million people who served in World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions more who made other sacrifices to support those in combat overseas. The Elks exceeded their pledge, generating more than $1.22 million for this monument of tribute.
In nearly 2,200 communities, local Elks lodges work valiantly to promote civic pride. Local lodges regularly hold functions to recognize and celebrate the achievements of local emergency services personnel, teachers, leading citizens, educators, students, and government officials. Elks also demonstrate the pride that they feel toward their communities by volunteering and making financial contributions to local charitable organizations.