Hereís a Look at the History of Flag Day
As far as holidays go, itís certainly not the best known. In fact, many of us probably wouldnít even know about it, except for the fact that the mail doesnít run. Nonetheless, itís an important part of what makes America great. So hereís a look at the history of flag day.
Adoption of the FlagOn June 14th, 1777, the Second Continental Congress first adopted the flag as the national symbol.
First Celebrated in Connecticut
In 1861, a fellow named George Morris, who lived in Hartford, CT, suggested to his fellow townspeople that they mark the occasion the US flag was officially adopted. The rest of the city thought it was a great idea, and they observed the day with prayers and well wishes for the United States, which at that time was engaged in the Civil War.
Bernard Cigrand Takes Up the CauseThe year was 1885. Bernard J. Cigrand was a grade school teacher in Waubeka, WI when he decided that George Morrisís idea should be made into a nationally recognized day of observance. He led the institution he taught at, Stony Hill School, in observing it that year. The building where he instructed his pupils still stands to this day and has been made into a historic site commemorating Cigrand for his efforts.
After this initial event, the school teacher began traveling the country to promote the idea of making Flag Day an official day of celebration. He wrote an article on the subject that appeared in a Chicago paper in June of 1886. In 1888, he delivered a speech to the Sons of America, a patriotic group headquartered in Chicago. The organization later named Cigrand as editor-in-chief of its official magazine, The American Standard.
Cigrandís idea grew in popularity, and in 1894, Chicago held a giant celebration of the American flag on the third Saturday of June. More than 300,000 persons joined in, and the event was so popular it was held again the next year.
Bernard Cigrand delivered over 2,000 speeches during his lifetime urging the adoption of a national flag day. In 1913, he settled in Batavia, Illinois, where he lived until his death in 1932. Today, he is recognized as the father of the holiday, and the history of flag day would not be complete without him.
Others Continue Cigrandís WorkElizabeth Duane Gillespie was a descendant of Benjamin Franklin and resident of Philadelphia. In 1893, she led her organization, the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, in a crusade to display the American flag in all public buildings. Her efforts eventually led to Pennsylvania being the first state to make Flag Day an official holiday.
In 1907, the leaders of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a fraternal organization, formally adopted June 14 as Flag Day. Respect for the flag has been an important part of the groupís rules of conduct ever since.
In 1913, striking textile workers in Paterson, New Jersey were accused by local politicians of being unpatriotic. In response, hundreds of the workers marched through town waving American flags to celebrate the cityís flag day, which was held on March 17.
These efforts by so many individuals and groups bore fruit in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that June 14 would forever be known as Flag Day. In 1949, Congress acted as well, making the holiday official.
Flag Day in Modern TimesThough many people donít know it, the day is observed with celebrations across the U.S. Troy, NY holds the biggest observance of all, with a giant parade that draws tens of thousands of people.
Make Every Day Flag DayOf course, nothing says you canít honor our nationsí banner every day of the year. At Independence Bunting we have a great selection of patriotic supplies, including flags, flag pole sets, bunting, and other items to help your express your love for our great country. Take a few minutes to browse our site, then order with confidence using our secure online form. We look forward to serving you.