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Two honored for carrying on community service in tradition of Francis J. Bellamy

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) - Wednesday marked the death of a very important citizen, both to the city of Rome and the country.

Francis J. Bellamy died 82 years ago on Wednesday. He is the author of the Pledge of Allegiance as well as the man responsible for helping bring it into classrooms, where it's been since the 1890s.

"Every Flag Day, Rome Elks, we have our ceremony here to celebrate Francis Bellamy and what he did for, basically, the public schools in the United States because he was the one who really got the inspiration and got God into the schools," said Whitney Cook, Exalted Ruler of the Rome Elks #96. "It's kind of sad that we're kind of drifting away from that. But through the Elks and citizens and different organizations within the community, we're trying to bring that back."

The Rome Elks have been maintaining the gravesite of Francis J. Bellamy for 76 years.

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