Astronaut Robert L. Stewart in untethered flight / NASA
CULLMAN – The Cullman Elks Lodge will hold its annual Flag Day celebration, a patriotic and colorful family event, tonight, Wednesday, June 14 at 7 p.m., with special guest speaker Brigadier Gen. Robert L. Stewart, a former U.S. astronaut.
Col. Ken Brown, a member of the Cullman Elks Lodge, says that Stewart was a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, and was later selected as the first astronaut from the U.S. Army. He flew two subsequent shuttle missions, and was one of two astronauts who were the first to fly in space untethered from a spacecraft.
“He will be presenting one of the American flags that he took into space during his missions,” Brown said.
According to the Cullman Elks, “The celebration highlights the rich history of our nation’s flag from the beginning of our republic to the present day. Our local combat veterans are featured and will participate in the service.”
The event, which is free and open to the public, is celebrated by Elks Lodges across the country annually.
“Supposedly some founders of the Elks were related to some of the women who stitched together the first flags during the American Revolution,” said Brown.
“Usually we have some desserts and some coffee and water,” Brown said. “Everything is totally free. We have plenty of parking, and that is free too.”
Brown says the event will be a great event for everyone, “from grandchildren to grandparents.”
The Cullman Elks Lodge is located at 1525 Brantley Ave. NW.
For more information on Stewart, visit www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/stewart-rl.html.
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