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American patriotism celebrated at annual Pause For The Pledge ceremony

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A Bucket Truck was used to host up a U.S. flag while the original is in the repair shop.

ESSEX—Patriotic music, prayer and honoring a WWII Vet made for a wholesome Flag Day celebration at Trinity Temple Church Sunday.

Flag Day in Essex is also when the only Pause for the Pledge Ceremony in Baltimore County is held every year—and one of only two Pause for the Pledge Ceremonies in the State of Maryland.

The Pause for the Pledge was started in 1980 at the Flag House in Baltimore. Americans across the nation are encouraged to stop what they are doing and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Pause for the Pledge in Essex was started by the late Alfred E. “Al” Clasing, Jr. in the 1980s at Trinity Temple Church which has the largest American Flag in Essex.

In 2016, a new 20’ by 30’ American Flag was dedicated which was purchased from donations from the community. In 2019, a brand new flag courtesy of Cliff’s Hi-Tech Auto Body Shop was dedicated on Flag Day. This flag was not flown at the ceremony due to it being in a repair shop. However. Metzgar told the crowd that, “it doesn’t matter how big the flag is or how small—it’s the patriotism in that flag that matters.”

Delegate Metzgar is a member of the House Veterans Caucus and said he plans to continue the tradition in honor of Mr. Clasing who worked tirelessly for veterans and the preservation of the Back River Neck Peninsula Community. Mr. Clasing was a World War II Navy Veteran who passed away on December 16, 2015 from kidney failure at the age of 90.

Pastor James H. Lane, Pastor Emeritus of Trinity Temple and a World War II Veteran, lead the Invocation. Lane has over 50 years of active duty in the U.S. Army.

Around August, 1942 when he was not quite 18, he joined the United States Army. After six weeks of basic training, he served in the European Theater of Operations with the 5th Infantry Division and fought in all of the five major battles of World War II under the command of “Old Blood and Guts” General George C. Patton.

Pastor Lane was a Corporal in the Army. During the war he lived under an overturned jeep for three days with the enemy all around him. He received the Purple Heart for injuries received during the war. He was also commended for services beyond the call of duty twice and was presented with two Bronze Stars. After WWII was over he was honorably discharged from the Army in October of 1945.

During his many years as Pastor of Trinity Temple, he has served as Chaplain to many organizations including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Kiwanis Club, the Masonic Lodge, the Auxiliary Police where is was commissioned as a Captain, the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore County Fire Department, the United States Air Force C.A.P. where he was also commissioned as Captain, and many, many others. He has served as Associate Guardian of Job’s Daughters and has, also, been active in the DeMolay.

Joe DiCara was also at the ceremony and sang the National Anthem along with other patriotic songs and Joey McCann, the Music Man will performed live patriotic music as well.

Sandra Harris, a Dundalk resident, said she enjoyed the ceremony and was glad it wasn’t canceled due to COVID-19.

“This is my first time coming to this [ceremony] and I’m glad people are celebrating the flag,”

“I’m glad they still held it because I heard other events have been canceled which I’m pretty upset about. I hope they continue to have this ceremony in the future.”

Videos of this year’s Pause for the Pledge Ceremony can be watched on The Avenue News’ Facebook page.

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