Of all the patriotic red, white and blue holidays, Flag Day is one that sometimes gets lost in the crowd. We see it on the calendar every June 14th, but may not gather with friends to commemorate the day like we do on Memorial Day or watch fireworks like we do on Independence Day. Instead, we might ponder its origins and discuss how it all started.
According to www.USflag.org, before June 14th was officially declared National Flag Day in 1949 by President Truman, many people chose to use that date to observe and learn about our nation’s flag. Back in 1885, a school teacher in Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School named BJ Cigrand realized that it was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes. She got her students together to observe the day as the Flag Birthday. She advocated the observance for many years to come which made her quite famous in her area.
Kindergarten teacher George Balch held Flag Day ceremonies in his NYC class which led to the State Board of Education’s adoption of the holiday. The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia also held a Flag Day celebration in 1891. The NY Sons of the Revolution had their first Flag Day celebration the very next year. To celebrate Flag Day in Philadelphia in 1893, school children were gathered together in Independence Square to wave flags and sing patriotic songs.
In 1906, composer George M. Cohan wrote the song ‘You’re a Grand Ole Flag’ to commemorate the beautiful red white and blue fabric sewn together by Betsy Ross and declared our national flag on June 14, 1777. One of the most famous lyrics of the song:
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.
Knowing that our flag has flown tall through many conflicts, wars and peaceful times alike is certainly worth celebrating. So this June 14th remember to keep your eye on the Grand Ole Flag!