National Observance: Fly red, white and blue on Flag Day

TUESDAY, JUNE 14: If you’re American, proudly fly the red, white and blue today for Flag Day, a national observance that recalls the 1777 adoption of a design for the official flag of the United States. Although not a federal holiday, Flag Day is an official state holiday in Pennsylvania. Still, the President must declare Flag Day’s observance each year, and often he proclaims the entire week “Flag Week,” and the flying of the flag is encouraged. (Read the 2011 proclamation here.) This year, the American social club Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks celebrates the centennial of its adoption of a mandatory order for all Lodges to observe Flag Day. (This order still holds. Wikipedia has details.)

A 19-year-old teacher—Bernard Cigrand—held the first “flag day” observance in his classroom in 1885, when he placed a small flag in a bottle on his desk and asked students to write essays about the flag. Following that first observance, Cigrand spent several years speaking around the country about the need for a “flag day,” and he eventually became editor of a magazine, American Standard, in which he wrote numerous articles on patriotism and the flag. When President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation in 1916 that officially established Flag Day, Cigrand was referred to as the “Father of Flag Day.”

Care to share your thoughts on Flag Day?

Find some cool facts: You’ll find facts and links at the Library of Congress website.

Tell us what the flag means to you! At the website, Dr. Wayne Baker posted five stories about the American flag. Visit the “discussion starter” webpage, click on one of the headlines—and tell us what you think.

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email