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The History of Flag Day

6-14-12

Though the origin of Flag Day dates back to the late 19th century, its inspiration takes us further back to 1777. On June 14th of that year, in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress passed a resolution specifying that the flag carry 13 stripes and 13 stars. The colors would represent hardiness and valor (red), purity and innocence (white), and vigilance, perseverance and justice (blue).

The concept of a specific day to annually recognize the American Flag came 108 years later. In 1885, a Fredonia, Wisconsin schoolteacher, B.J. Cigrand, arranged for the students in his school district to observe the resolution on June 14th as ‘Flag Birthday’. In 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned similar festivities for his school’s students.

In 1893, Philadelphia became the first city to celebrate Flag Day, and in the following year, New York was the first state to observe June 14th. After decades of expanding community observances, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day on May 30, 1916.

Still many communities did not celebrate Flag Day. It wasn’t until 1949, when President Harry Truman signed into an Act of Congress that National Flag Day be observed every June 14th. The Unites States Flag Code, as adopted by Congress, states “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” This is why we should give the flag our full respect.

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14.

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