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How Much Do You Really Know About Flag Day?

So, how much do you really know about Flag Day? You see it on the calendar every time June 14 rolls around, but you may not give it much thought beyond that. Let’s change that! How about a quick history lesson on the origins and meaning of Flag Day and how you can celebrate the day? Knowledge is power! Tell your family, tell your friends.

We’ve also included a must-do Florida Gulf Coast Flag Day event that should become part of your annual tradition on this national holiday. Check it out!

Flag Day Begins in the Schools

The origin of Flag Day is believed to be credited to a school teacher named BJ Cigrand in a public school in Fredonia, Wisconsin in 1885. That year on June 14 was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes and was given the moniker Flag Birthday. As the years progressed, Cigrand continued to spread the word as a strong and enthusiastic proponent for the observance of June 14 as Flag Birthday, also known as Flag Day, in media outlets including newspapers, magazines and public addresses.

Word caught on, and other schools began to join in the celebration of the day. On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned flag-related ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day.

Flag Day Expands to Local and State Celebrations

Following the suggestion of Colonel J. Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as Flag Day. On that day, school children assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small flag to wave proudly.

Two weeks later on May 8, 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, 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. It was quite the patriotic display!

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 created and organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14, 1894, 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.

National Flag Day Becomes an Act of Congress

Flag Day wasn’t just for the kids, though. Adults participated in the flag festivities as well. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: 

“I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations on
the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777, Flag Day was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916.

While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designatingJune 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

Now you know!

Annual Flag Day Ceremony in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Join us this year during your time on Florida’s Gulf Coast by attending the Annual Flag Day Ceremony held each June 14 at Chic-A-Si Park in Indian Rocks Beach. The patriotic festivities begin at 12 noon. Wear your red, white and blue proudly and join us in our local flag-waving celebration to mark this national occasion.

Why not make it your new Flag Day tradition? What better way to bring meaning to this special national holiday?

We hope to see you there. Stars and Stripes forever! Happy Flag Day!

Do you and your family have an annual Flag Day tradition on June 14? We’d love to hear about it! Our comment section is open 24/7.