Everyone knows that July 4th is our Independence Day, but I bet most people don’t know the date of Flag Day off the top of their head. Some might even think they are the same day! Well, that’s not the case... the flag didn’t want to share a day with anyone… it wanted its own celebration, and it got it! The American flag is a representation of our nation’s unity and independence and it is honored annually on June 14th.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the national flag: the stars and stripes. On June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the official design of the United States flag. On May 30th, 1916, President Wilson established a proclamation that claimed June 14th as Flag Day. However, it was not until August 3rd, 1949 that President Truman signed an act of congress authorizing June 14th of each year as “Flag Day.” People across the nation show their American Pride and express their love for our country on this day.
Many people contributed to the creation and existence of Flag Day, however, one person sticks out. The first formal observance of Flag Day occurred at a school in Waubeka, Wisconsin in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a 19 year old school teacher at Stony Hill School in Wisconsin, gave a memorable lecture to his class. During his lesson he set a large flag on his desk and told his students they must write an essay on the significance and importance of the flag. Over the next few years, Cigrand eagerly spread the word of his idea to advocate the need for an official day to show respect for our flag. He wanted a flag holiday that promoted patriotism and that was specifically on June 14th because that was the day in 1777 that congress adopted the stars and stripes. Cigrand eventually became the president of the American Flag Day Association and later of the National Flag Day Society. In addition, he has given over 2,188 speeches on the flag and nationalism. After years of devotion and effort, he was named “the father of Flag Day.”
Millions of Americans celebrate this day by waving flags outside their businesses and homes to show their pride. Many people also get together for special ceremonies, gatherings, parades, festivals and parties. Show your patriotism, have fun, and be fashionable during a Flag Day party or BBQ. Serve food in the shape of stars, have a flag decorated cake and serve red, white, or blue colored drinks! Don’t forget the decorations, appropriate colored clothing, and accessories! Flag Day is a great reason to get together with friends and family.
Do you know what the colors of the flag stand for? Well, to the original members of the Continental Congress, these colors had specific meanings. Red representing hardiness and courage, white standing for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance and justice. The thirteen stripes celebrate the original thirteen American colonies and the 50 stars represent each state in the union.
As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our flag and our country. So on June 14th make sure you raise the flag high with confidence, glory and pride!
Flag dos and don’ts:
-The flag is usually flown from sunrise to sunset.
-The flag should be flown half way to the top of the pole for 30 days after a tragedy or death. This is called “half staff” on land and “half mast” on water.
-The flag should not be flown at night without a light on it.
-The flag should not be flown in the rain or any bad weather.
-NEVER let the flag touch the ground.
-Instead of throwing an old, used flag in the trash, it is more proper to burn it or bury it.
-The stars/blue region of the flag should always be at the top when displayed.
-Fold the flag neatly and carefully when storing.
1.) “Old glory” got its name from a young sea captain from Massachusetts named William Driver. He received a flag from his mother on his 21st birthday and decided to call it old glory. Today that exact flag, that was once a companion to Driver, is preserved in a glass case at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
2.) The United States Army also celebrates its birthday on June 14th. Congress adopted the “American Continental Army” on June 14th, 1775.
3.) People who study flags are called Vexillologists.
4.) Betsy Ross, George Washington’s seamstress, made the country’s first flag.