We celebrate Flag Day on June 14 simply because it was on this particular day in 1777 that the adoption of the American flag by the Second Continental Congress transpired. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson made a proclamation, which set up June 14 as the day that all Americans might honor our flag. The Congress then eventually established it 33 years afterward in 1949.

USA FlagThis particular special day in which we honor our flag is neither a federal nor a state holiday with the exception of one state, that being Pennsylvania. They began honoring Flag Day as a state holiday on June 14, 1937. There is a parade in Troy, New York that honors the flag and is the biggest Flag Day parade in the nation with an usual attendance of 50,000 people. George Morris of Hartford, Connecticut is thought to have actually been the first to suggest the celebration of a “Flag Day” and although the practice did not continue, it was honored for the very first time in Hartford in 1861.

In 1885 Cigrand J. Bernard, a teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, was the first to formally honor Flag Day in Waubeka at Stony Hill School. From that time on, Cigrand advocated patriotism, and appreciation for the flag, and the need to dedicate a special day in its honor all around the country. In June 1886 while attending dentistry school in Chicago, the Chicago Argus newspaper released his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the United States Flag in a short article titled “The Fourteenth of June”. Then in 1888, became the editor-in-chief of American Standard, a periodical established by a Chicago group referred to as “Sons of America”, encouraging respect for American symbols by publishing articles. His articles were not only published in American Standard, but in several other magazines and newspapers also. And in 1894, more than 300,000 school kids in Chicago celebrated Flag Day. Cigrand went on to become the president of the American Flag Day Association as well as the National Flag Day Society, with the support of these organizations; Cigrand was able to deliver more than 2,000 speeches about patriotism and the American flag. He later resided in Batavia, Illinois from 1913 until his death on May 16, 1932. Many regard him as the “Father of Flag Day”.

William Kerr of Collier Township, Pennsylvania, who started the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888 and functioning as its own national chairman for fifty years, attended the signing of the Act of Congress in 1949 by Harry Truman, which in turn officially established the observance of this day. George Boch, a kindergarten principal in New York City, celebrated this day in his school in 1889. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, in 1893 attempted a resolution for the establishment of a June 14th Flag Day. These are but a few notable patriots who fought for the national observation of Flag Day.

Each year the president issues a proclamation requesting citizens to fly the American flag. Some towns hold parades and events in honor of this day. The National Flag Day Foundation holds a flag raising ceremony, a parade, and other events too on the second Sunday of June.

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