Jun 13

What is Flag Day?

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Saturday is Flag Day. Since the flag is one of the great symbols of our freedom, let’s examine the history of Flag Day. As you will see, teachers were the inspiration to the creation of Flag Day.

According to USFlag.org, the idea of Flag Day started in 1885 when a schoolteacher, BJ Cigrand, arranged for the students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School to observe June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’ as it was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes. On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, arranged celebration of the U.S. Flag for the children of his school. His Flag Day celebration was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

In 1893, the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America petitioned the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

Other states followed. In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. The American Flag Day Association was organized in Illinois for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. Because of this association, the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

In honor of Flag Day, let’s remember some of these tips for respectfully displaying and caring for the U.S. Flag:

• The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

• The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

• The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.

• When flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

• When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

• Ordinarily, the US Flag should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. However, it can be displayed at night if it is illuminated.

Spend a few minutes of your Saturday looking at a United States flag and ponder on how lucky we are to being living in the best country in the world.

God Bless America!

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