Flag Day History

The National Flag Day is observed annually in the U.S.A. on the 4th of June. But this popular patriotic holiday was established by the efforts of a lot of individuals who believed in the cause that it celebrates. Know in brief about the history of Flag Day and enhance your knowledge about the occasion. If you enjoy reading this article, click here and share it with your dear ones. Wish you a happy Flag Day!

The flag of an organization or an institution, is its emblem and the representative of its objective. But the flag of a country is not merely its symbol, but something that tells about its rich history and high hopes. Flag Day, one of the most patriotic occasions in the U.S.A., and commemorates the adoption of the American Flag more than 200 years ago. But the occasion did not originate all of a sudden. It was a series of events that gave rise to this wonderful holiday.

American National FlagIt was in 1776 when thirteen states of America earned their independence from British domination following a state of prolonged domination. The freedom was earned through a long and tense battle known as the great American War of Independence. The following year, on June 14, the Continental Congress proposed that the United States have a national flag instead of the British Union Jack. Thus, the American national flag was born in 1777.

With time, the need to commemorate this significant occasion in American history was felt by many. The idea was first publicly suggested by George Morris, an inhabitant of of Hartford, Connecticut. It was in 1861 that Flag Day was observed for the first time in the city of Hartford, even though it was only a celebration of the adoption of the new American flag and was not meant to be an annual affair.

The first public celebration of Flag Day originated in 1885, and in the sense as we know it. It took a patriotic grade school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, to hold the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at the Stony Hill School. Bernard J. Cigrand did not stop with this observance and ensured that it became an annual holiday. He went on promoting his idea and gathering support for it from all and sundry. In June 1886, the Chicago Argus newspaper published his inspiring article titled "The Fourteenth of June," where he publicly proposed an annual observance of the birth of the United States flag for the first time. He found support from "Sons of America," a Chicago group, which made him editor-in-chief of its magazine, American Standard, that promoted reverence for American emblems. Cigrand did all he could to arouse general enthusiasm for his idea and his efforts succeeded when a public school children’s celebration of Flag Day took place in Chicago at Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks on the third Saturday in June 1894, . More than 300,000 children participated in the celebration, which occurred again the next year. Cigrand became president of the American Flag Day Association and later of the National Flag Day Society, which allowed him to promote his cause with the support of an organization behind him. Rightly is he recognized as the "Father of Flag Day".

Despite Cigrand's efforts however, Flag Day did not become as big an occasion as it deserved to be. But through his writings and speeches, he was successful in planting and nurturing the idea in the minds and hearts of a number of individuals who took it upon themselves to see that the celebration of this holiday took place in a grander style and in a wider scale.

On June 14, 1889, George Bolch, the principal of a free kindergarten in New York City, organized a Flag Day celebration with the children of his school to celebrate the American Revolution as well as commemorate the adoption of the national flag. His idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

In later years, Flag Day was celebrated in different parts of the nation. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia as well as the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day. On April 25, 1893,
the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America adopted a resolution, inspired by a historian named Colonel J Granville Leach. This historic resolution requested the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day'. It was also recommended that on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag. This resolution influenced Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, and he directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children gathered in the said spot on the said day, each carrying a small Flag. Speeches were delivered and patriotic songs were sung to lend a patriotic flavor to this occasion.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that the Flag be displayed on all public buildings on June 14. It helped that the American Flag Day Association of Illinois, was established around this time by BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn. Due to its initiative, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held on June 14th, 1894. More than 300,000 children, as well as many adults, participated in the programs organized in various parts of the country. The celebrations grew in popularity as more and more localities and states joined in over the next three decades.

On May 30th, 1916, Flag Day was officially proclaimed as a national occasion by the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. But it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that the National Flag Day was established by President Harry Truman as an occasion to be observed each year across the nation on the 14th of June.

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