Why do we Celebrate Flag Day?

The tradition of celebrating our countries flag dates back to its creation; however, it wasn’t until the 1800s that the celebration became annually recognized. It took some time from there for the federal government to recognize the annual celebration. In 1949, Flag Day was established as an act of congress. Although it was initially celebrated on June 14th, it has since changed to the second Sunday in June. There is an interesting story as to how this day comes to be, and how it has changed substantially since its initial inception. The rest of this article will be discussing this history and why we even celebrate on this day.

The purpose of Flag Day is to respect and celebrate the day/time in which the United States adopted its official flag. On June 14th, 1777, the U.S adopted the flag, and this was decreed by the second continental congress. It is celebrated in different ways, including parades and different hanging practices. The government recognizes the holiday, but it is not an official holiday (meaning that public services are not shut down for the day).

The first utterance of Flag Day is attributed to George Morris. Morris lived in Hartford, CT and suggested that the city honor the adoption of the American flag. The celebration was on June 14th, 1861, and included patriotic parades and prayers for the continued strength of the Union. It did not gain popularity at this time, and it wasn’t until 1885 that the day was celebrated again. This time Bernard J. Cigrand was responsible for the celebration. Although there was a celebration in Hartford 20+ years prior, Flag Day wasn’t recognized until Cigrand officially celebrated at the Stony Hill School. Bernard J. Cigrand was a 19-year-old teacher at the school, and it is claimed that he had a deep love for the nation’s flag. Cigrand didn’t spend his whole life teaching, and in fact he traveled the country speaking about patriotism and the need to celebrate our flag annually. He was so passionate about the flag that he even published an article in the Chicago Argus newspaper entitled “The fourteenth of June.” Cigrand’s passion led William T. Kerr to create the American Flag Day Association of Western, PA in 1888. Cigrand had a big effect on many individuals, organizations, cities, and states. This includes:

  • George Bolch (1889)
  • Elizabeth Gillespie (1893)
  • City of Patterson, NJ (1913)

Cigrand is credited with influencing former president Woodrow Wilson, who in 1916 issued a presidential proclamation to make June 14th Flag Day. Since this time Flag Day has been celebrated. What will you be doing on the second Sunday in June? Hopefully you would have contacted banner makers for perfect United State flags.