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Flag Ceremony

A formal reception of the National Flag was especially frequent in all fraternal Bodies during the World War and ceremonies of most impressive character were noted in leading Masonic organizations as in the Grand Lodges of Iowa, Indiana, and elsewhere.

The making of the first "Stars and Stripes" is credited to Mrs. Elizabeth Ross of Philadelphia. We have seen on the door posts of the old ancestral home of the Washington's at Sulgrave Manor, England, two shields each bearing three stars surmounting a horizontal bar or stripe. Doubtless this had a suggestive force in designing the new flag.

When the National Flag is hung either horizontally or vertically across a wall, the union (the stars on the blue field or background) should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is to the observer's left. When displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from a window sill or the front of a building, the same rule should be followed. The union should go down to the truck (as the peak or point of the staff is called) unless the flag is at half-mast position. A Service Flag was designed by Brother Robert L. Queisser, Captain, Fifth Ohio Machine Gun Company, in honor of those in the military or naval service. This flag was much used in the United States during the World War. The flag had a center field of white with a red border. On the white field blue stars were placed for those in service, gold stars for the dead.

At the fifty-fourth annual session held at Miami, Florida, May 1-3, 1928, of the Imperial Council, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the Committee on Revision of Ritual reported that some Temples were using elaborate and beautiful flag ceremonies. In a great many cases bugle calls were used in connection with the activities of the Color Guard and bands rendered patriotic airs in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. Usually the National Anthems were sung by the entire membership present. The Committee submitted a minimum requirement to be made applicable to all the Temples of the Order with the understanding that the following simple ceremony might be developed and elaborated:

When the Color Guard, or Marshal, with his assistants presents the Colors at the altar after the Temple has been duly opened. the Potentate win cause the Nobility to come to attention and salute. After the salute is rendered, the following pledge will be recited in concert: "I pledge allegiance to my flag, to the principles for which it stands. one Brotherhood indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The Color Guard will then escort the Colors to their proper position while the Nobility continue at attention. The Color Guard will then return to the altar and the Potentate will seat the Temple. The suggestion of the Committee was recommended to the Subordinate Temples.

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