Mission Viejo, November 15, 2014.
Photos by Mike Marquis
Officers and members of the Elks lodges of Orange County gathered at the Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks lodge #2444 for a dinner and to participate in the Elks solemn ritual of Flag Retirement. Thousands of service worn Flags of our country, ready to be retired were collected throughout the year. They were all properly folded and displayed on long tables lining the Elks lodge room. The event takes place each year in November, when officers and members representing the ten Elks lodges of the Orange Coast District meet in a respectful ceremony to pay one last honor to the service worn Flags before they are taken away and properly incinerated.
Following a dinner, distinguished members and guests were introduced by Norm Jones, Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler and lodge secretary. The United States Marine Corps color guard from the USMC Recruiting Station in Orange CA. presented the colors. A musical presentation by the Mission Viejo High School Coral group, singing “America the Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner,” drew a thunderous applause from the appreciative audience. The “March of Flags” was presented by Boy Scouts of Troop #1273. Greg Neneman, President of the Huntington Beach Elks lodge #1959 conducted the Retirement Ritual with assistance from the Orange Coast District lodge officers. An impressive folding of the Flag was performed by the United States Marines and narrated by Elk lodge presidents Philip Moore of the Orange Elks lodge #1475 and Mike Hobbs of the Santa Ana lodge #794. The inspirational keynote address was given by Staff Sergeant Freddie Real USMC. This year’s event was hosted by the Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley lodge and chaired by Harvey Boelts, Past State Vice President of the Orange Coast District and this year’s Americanism Chairman.
Mission Viejo/Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge #2444 is celebrating 44 years of service to Saddleback Valley Communities. It is one of 10 lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 146 history of giving. "Elks Care Elks Share."