FRANKFORT, Ky. (6/14/13) – Traditionally, Fourth of July celebrates America’s birthday. However, an idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the “flag” was started in 1885. A school teacher, B.J. Cigrand, lined up his students outside the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School to observe June 14 as “Flag Birthday” or “Flag Day.” For years after that, newspapers, magazines and public addresses affiliated June 14 as Flag Day. Cigrand happily continued to advocate the observation of June 14 as Flag Day.
On June 14, 1889, a kindergarten teacher, George Balch from New York City, planned a ceremony for the children of his school with his idea of observance of Flag Day which was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. The next few years, on June 14th, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia and the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day.
A historian named Colonel J. Granville Leach suggested that the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America request that the Mayor of Philadelphia, others in Authority and private citizens to display their flags on June 14th. Leach also suggested that thereafter, that day would be known as ‘Flag Day.’ Leach also requested that on June 14th that the schools would assemble children with appropriate exercises and providing each child with a small flag of their own.
A few weeks after the request was made, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously approved the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America. Dr. Edward Brooks, a superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia directed that Flag Day exercises would be held on June 14th, 1893 at the Independence Square. The children were assembled, carrying their flags while singing patriotic songs and listening to public addresses. By 1894, the Governor of New York organized that public buildings would display flags on June 14th. However, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, when President Truman signed an Act of Congress that designated June 14 as National Flag Day.
Even though Flag Day is not a federal holiday, The U.S. Government encourages the display of Old Glory outside businesses and homes.
Photo Provided by Amber Mena
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