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Flag Day at Baker Park 2008
By: Craig Shipp

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History of Flag Day

 Flag of the United States
Flag of the United States

Several people and/or organizations played instrumental roles in the establishment of a national Flag Day celebration. They are identified here in chronological order.

1861, George Morris

The earliest reference to the suggestion of a "Flag Day" is cited in Kansas: a Cyclopedia of State History, published by Standard Publishing Company of Chicago in 1912. It credits George Morris of Hartford, Connecticut:

To George Morris of Hartford, Conn., is popularly given the credit of suggesting "Flag Day," the occasion being in honor of the adoption of the American flag on June 14, 1777. The city of Hartford observed the day in 1861, carrying out a program of a patriotic order, praying for the success of the Federal arms and the preservation of the Union.

The observance apparently did not become a tradition.[1]

1885, Bernard J. Cigrand

Working as a grade school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885, Cigrand held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at Stony Hill School in Waubeka. The school has been restored, and a bust of Cigrand also honors him at the National Flag Day Americanism Center in Waubeka.[4]

From the late 1880s on, Cigrand spoke around the country promoting patriotism, respect for the flag, and the need for the annual observance of a flag day on June 14, the day in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes. [5][1]

He moved to Chicago to attend dental school and, in June 1886, first publicly proposed an annual observance of the birth of the United States flag in an article titled "The Fourteenth of June," published in the Chicago Argus newspaper. In June 1888, Cigrand advocated establishing the holiday in a speech before the "Sons of America," a Chicago group. The organization founded a magazine, American Standard, in order to promote reverence for American emblems. Cigrand was appointed editor-in-chief and wrote articles in the magazine as well as in other magazines and newspapers to promote the holiday.

On the third Saturday in June 1894, a public school children’s celebration of Flag Day took place in Chicago at Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks. More than 300,000 children participated, and the celebration was repeated the next year.[5]

Cigrand became president of the American Flag Day Association and later of the National Flag Day Society, which allowed him to promote his cause with organizational backing. Cigrand once noted he had given 2,188 speeches on patriotism and the flag.

Cigrand lived in Batavia, Illinois, from 1913–1932.[6]

Cigrand generally is credited with being the "Father of Flag Day," with the Chicago Tribune noting that he "almost singlehandedly" established the holiday.

1888, William T. Kerr

William T. Kerr, a resident of Collier Township, Pennsylvania, for a number of years, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888, and became that organization's national chairman one year later, serving as such for fifty years. He attended President Harry S. Truman's 1949 signing of the Act of Congress that formally established the observance.

1889, George Bolch

In 1889, the principal of a free kindergarten, George Bolch, celebrated the anniversary of the Flag resolution at his New York City school. Soon the State Board of Education of New York, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, and the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution celebrated Flag Day, as well.[7] [1]

1893, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie

In 1893, Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a descendant of Benjamin Franklin and the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, attempted to have a resolution passed deeming June 14 as Flag Day. That same year, the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania were responsible for a resolution passed requiring the American flag to be displayed on all Philadelphia's public buildings. This is why some credit Philadelphia as Flag Day's original home.[1] In 1937, Pennsylvania became the first state to make Flag Day a legal holiday.[7]

1907, B.P.O.E.

On June 14, 1907, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks held a Flag Day observance.

[edit] Observance of Flag Day

The Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House

The week of June 14 is designated as "National Flag Week." During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. The flag should also be displayed on all Government buildings. Some organizations hold parades and events in celebration of America's national flag and everything it represents.

The National Flag Day Foundation holds an annual observance for Flag Day on the second Sunday in June. The program includes a ceremonial raising of the flag, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem (The Star-spangled Banner), a parade and more. [1]

The Betsy Ross House, has long been the site of Philadelphia's observance of Flag Day.[1]

[edit] External links

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[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gammage, Jeff. "Flag Day loses importance but lives on in Phila", Philadelphia Inquirer, 2008-06-14. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
  2. ^ 36 U.S.C.110
  3. ^
  4. ^ Brown, James. The Real Bernard J. Cigrand: The Father of Flag Day. Fredonia, Wisconsin.
  5. ^ a b Web page titled "Bernard J. CiGrand" at the National Flag Day Foundation website, retrieved May 8, 2008
  6. ^ Robinson, Marilyn, and Jeffery D. Schielke. John Gustafson's Historic Batavia. Batavia, Ill.: Batavia Historical Society, 1998, pp. 378–379.
  7. ^ a b History of Flag Day.
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Flag Day at Baker Park 2008
By: Craig Shipp
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