Flag Day: Honor the Star-Spangled Banner and observe National Flag Week

“Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
John Adams, June 14, 1777

Close-up of American flag

Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, courtesy of Flickr

SUNDAY, JUNE 14: Fly Old Glory high and host a patriotic summer gathering—it’s Flag Day, the United States’ annual commemoration of the adoption of the national flag.

Did you know? About 150 million American flags are sold each year, according to a trade group representing flag manufacturers. Some are made by American workers; some are imported from countries around the world. If you care about the origin of the flag you buy, check the labels carefully.

The tradition of honoring the June 14, 1777, adoption of our flag by the Second Continental Congress wasn’t widely celebrated in America until 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation. In 1949, Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Though Flag Day isn’t a federal holiday, the President of the United States proclaims its observance annually and designates the week of June 14 as “National Flag Week.”

Did you know? The date of June 14 is also the birthday of the United States Army.

References vary regarding who originated the modern observance of Flag Day, but Wisconsin grade school teacher Bernard J. Cigrand is universally recognized for his tireless efforts. In 1885, 19-year-old Cigrand held an observance of Flag Day at Stony Hill School, displaying a flag and asking students to write about its significance. From the late 1880s, Cigrand spoke nationally for an American flag day. (Wikipedia has details.)

The first public proposal for a day honoring the United States flag was part of an article composed by Cigrand, entitled, “The Fourteenth of June.” Further, Cigrand became editor-in-chief of American Standard, the magazine of a group in Chicago that promoted due respect of American emblems. Cigrand became president of the American Flag Day Association. When Cigrand was 50 years old, President Wilson issued a proclamation for a nationwide observance of Flag Day; in 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating the day.

Through the centuries, there have since been several redesigns of the patriotic banner. (Learn more from AmericasLibrary.gov.) The flag flown today was last changed in 1960, with the addition of Hawaii to the United States.

THREE CHEERS FOR RED, WHITE & BLUE

Why wait until the Fourth of July for some tri-colored fun?

  • Kids can get artistic with red, white and blue-themed crafts in honor of their favorite Disney characters, at Disney.com.