The American flag turned 232 years old on Sunday. Old Glory isn't the only thing turning a year older... This weekend also marks 234th birthday of the United States Army.
When most people think about the American flag, Betsy Ross automatically comes to mind. But chances are good most don't think about the Elks Lodge... Many don't know the group played a key role in persuading Congress to officially adopt Old Glory back in 1777.
Centuries later, the local Elks Lodge still gathers to honor the flag and those who fight for it. Member Chuck Hardin says, "Wherever there's an Elk, the veterans will not be forgotten." Veterans like George Kenney, who fought in the Korea Conflict from 1951 to 1955. "I think that everybody who served is proud of doing what they had to do. I think that everybody felt like they did it for our country and that's why we're all standing here today enjoying our life."
The Amarillo Elks chapter isn't the only one paying tribute to the stars and stripes today. Member Wayne Jordan says, "All of the Elks Lodges across the country are doing the same thing we are."
Part of the yearly tradition is to retire the current flag... Something only three groups of Americans have the authority to do... The Elks Lodge, the Federal Government and the Boy Scouts. Amarillo's Troop 80 did the honors on Sunday.
The flag they're raising looks quite different from the very first flag... It started with 13 stars and 13 stripes, with more stars being added as more states were added.
The flag's 50th star was not added until 1959, when Hawaii officially joined the United States of America.