December 1, 2023

The History of Flag Day

As Lee Greenwood often reminds us, we are proud to be Americans. Living in the land of the free and the home of the brave is a privilege that most of us never take for granted and wouldn’t trade for anything. This patriotism and pride, coupled with the sacrifices and honor in our country, are part of the reason why we celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Flag Day. While on the surface these days may seem somewhat redundant, each patriotic holiday is important and unique, to be recognized by Americans with respect and patriotism.

On June 14, we celebrate Flag Day. This holiday originated in 1885 by a schoolteacher named BJ Cigrand of Fedonia, Wisconsin. This observance began as Flag Birthday, as June 14, 1885 was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes.

A few years later in 1889, a New York City kindergarten teacher celebrated Flag Birthday with all the students at his school, and his celebration was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York.

Throughout the next few decades, Flag Day observations began sprouting across the country.

In 1914, Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, delivered a Flag Day address in which he stated these words, as said by the flag: “I am what you make me: nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

In 1916, under President Woodrow Wilson, Flag Day was officially established. On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress to designate that National Flag Day would be recognized each year on June 14.

It can be easy at times to overlook a flag we see flying overhead, but just because we see them often does not mean we should take the sight for granted. On June 14 especially, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate all that the American Flag stands for and the sacrifices that were made in order to fly it with such pride.

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love.
The home of the free and the brave.

Ev’ry heart beats true
For the Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag.
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.