Flag Day 2013

flag_day_2013Today is Flag Day in the United States.

National Flag Day commemorates Congress’s adoption on June 14, 1777 of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States. Although not officially a federal holiday, Pennsylvania has declared it an official state holiday. (Huzzah Pennsylvania!)

HISTORY

US_Flag_Day_poster_1917June 14th, 1885 – Bernard J. Cigrand, a then 19 year old grade school teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10 inch, 38 star flag in a bottle on his desk and assigned essays on the flag and its significance. He went on to work for decades spreading recognition of June 14th as a nation day of remembrance and observation of the Stars and Stripes. (See also, House Resolution 622.)

May 30, 1916 – President Wilson issued Presidential proclamation 1335, calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day on June 14th:


Proclamation 1335 – Flag Day
May 30, 1916

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

My Fellow Countrymen:

Many circumstances have recently conspired to turn our thoughts to a critical examination of the conditions of our national life, of the influences which have seemed to threaten to divide us in interest and sympathy, of forces within and forces without that seemed likely to draw us away from the happy traditions of united purpose and action of which we have been so proud, It has therefore seemed to me fitting that I should call your attention to the approach of the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union, and to suggest to you that it should this year and in the years to come be given special significance as a day of renewal and reminder, a day upon which we should direct our minds with a special desire of renewal to thoughts of the ideals and principles of which we have sought to make our great Government the embodiment.

I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political programme of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, “one and inseparable” from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers’ first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall stand with united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,-a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixteen, and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fortieth.

1949 – In the summer session of the 1949 Congress, the House and the Senate agreed to H.J. Res. 170, a joint resolution officially recognizing June 14 of each year as Flag Day, and authorizing and requesting the president to issue an annual proclamation informing the American people of the occasion.