Flag Day 2011
June 14th is Flag Day, but for most Americans Flag Day passes by unnoticed or with very little thought given to this annual holiday. Although Flag Day is observed nationwide, it is a legal holiday in only a few areas of this nation, such as Montour County in Pennsylvania.
Flag Day is the day when all Americans should celebrate and show respect for their nation's flag and commemorate its adoption. For it was on June 14, 1777 that the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with a new design featuring stars and stripes.
It is shameful that Flag Day gets so little notice, for doesn't the flag represent this nation's independence and its unity as a nation? It should also be a time for Americans to reaffirm their loyalty to nation and their belief in liberty and justice.
The idea of an annual day celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. It was then that schoolteacher BJ Cigrand arranged for pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School to observe June 14th in remembrance of the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of the "Stars and Stripes." In 1886 Bernard Cigrand made his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the flag with an article titled "The Fourteenth of June" in the Chicago Argus newspaper.
It wasn't until June 13, 1916 that Cigrand's efforts were finally realized when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day. Another thirty three years passed until President Harry Truman signed legislation in August of 1949 proclaiming June 14 as Flag Day.
In 1966 Congress requested that the President issue an annual proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week. This year's proclamation by President Obama was not unlike those of past presidents. On June 10 the White House Office of the Press Secretary released the following:
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 14, 2011 as Flag Day and the week beginning June 12, 2011, as National Flag Week. I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during the week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag."
Our flag has a proud history. It has gone into every battle fought by Americans and has survived these battles during which many Americans died fighting to protect the flag.
The first flag featured 13 white stars in a circle on a field of blue with 13 red and white stripes and is often attributed to Philadelphia seamstress Betty Ross, the official flag maker for the Pennsylvania Navy.
During the years the American flag -- nicknamed "Old Glory" -- has changed design. It still has 13 alternating and equal horizontal stripes of red and white to represent the original 13 colonies that became the first states (The number of stripes stopped at 15 and was later returned to 13). Over the years white stars have been added to the blue rectangle in the canton until now there are 50 small, white, five-pointed stars, one for each state. As Americans we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag. It must always remain as an enduring symbol of our nation's ideas.
Our flag cannot be taken for granted. It will endure only as long as this nation and its people upholds the values it represents.
Proudly raise your flag with pride not only on Flag Day but on every day! It is an American symbol that sends a message to the world that America will stand up to its aggressors and preserve liberty.