Paying ‘civic rent’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The BPOE Elks lodge of Selma has taken on the daunting task of spreading patriotism throughout the county.

As part of the &uot;Americanism&uot; project of the Elks and Emblem Club, the group is committed to putting an American flag in every classroom in Dallas County.

Led by Louis Rose, the group is working steadily on its project.

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The project is expensive and extensive.

Joyce Canada, of the Emblem Club, said, &uot;A lot of children have no earthly idea of the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance. We hope the flags will allow the teachers to instruct them more.&uot;

The group has distributed countless flags and plans to distribute more.

The project started when the members decided the county needed a little more &uot;Americanism.&uot;

And though the classroom flags are the major part of the project, it isn’t the most public.

That honor belongs to the replacement of the flags at the Selma Visitors Center.

Bob Canada, chairman of the local Elks Lodge, said he’s been replacing the flags at the visitor’s center for a long time now, adding, &uot;I do it whenever it’s needed.&uot;

Tuesday, it was time to replace the flags once again. The stand at the Visitors Center includes an American Flag, a POW flag, and a flag from the Army, Navy and Marines.

George &uot;Cap&uot; Smith, curator of the Visitors Center, said he hopes the stand will serve as inspiration to high school kids at nearby Selma High to consider a career in the Armed Forces.

Canada is a retired member of the Air Force and served a support role in the Vietnam and Korean wars.

With the help of the Emblem Club, he’s managed to keep the frayed and weathered flags changed regularly. This time the group had some trouble, as Old Glory was wrapped around an overhead cable line. Eventually, they managed to get the pole down and the new flags on, allowing passersby to enjoy the spirit of the flags again.

Said Smith, &uot;I commend the Elks for coming out on a hot day like this to pay their civic rent.&uot;