Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14. It is a holiday that was designed specifically to honor the American Flag. How much do you know about the history of this holiday? Here is a quick review of the history of Flag Day, and some suggestions about how children can celebrate it.
The first Flag Day occurred in 1885. BJ Cigrand, who was a schoolteacher, was the first to get it started. This teacher arranged for the students in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 as “Flag Birthday”. The date was selected because it was the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes.
In 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher, planned ceremonies for the children of his school to observe Flag Day. His school was located in New York City. They observed Flag Day on June 14, 1889. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration. Betsy Ross, as you may know, is the woman who is credited with making the first American flag.
In 1890, the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America adopted a resolution that requested that the mayor of Philadelphia, all other authority, and private citizens, display the American flag on June 14 of each year. Colonel J Granville Leach, the historian of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution, also recommended it.
After that, it became a practice for school children to be assembled and given a small American flag on Flag Day. In 1894, the governor of New York directed that the Flag be displayed on all public buildings on Flag Day. The first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago took place on June 14, 1894.
On Flag Day of 1914, Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, gave an address in which he repeated words that he said the Flag spoke to him that morning. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson established Flag Day as the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777. On August 3, 1949, President Truman signed an Act of Congress that designated June 14 of every year to be National Flag Day.
Children can celebrate Flag Day by coloring a free printable coloring sheet from Crayola.com. It is titled: United States Flag and shows a drawing of the American flag.
Older children can learn how to properly fold an American Flag. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a step-by-step visual guide that shows exactly how to do it.
Many cities and towns have an annual Flag Day parade. Check your local newspaper (or the newspaper’s website) to see if there will be a parade happening near you. The event will be more meaningful for kids who know the history of Flag Day.
Image by Hammerin Man on Flickr.