In the United States the Flag Day is observed annually on June 14, which is the anniversary of passing the Flag Resolution in 1777. Back then the flag represented only thirteen states with thirteen stripes and thirteen six-pointed stars. The current flag represents fifty states as fifty white stars, and thirteen stripes depict the thirteen British colonies that were the first states of the U.S. and that declared their independence.
Flag Day was earliest mentioned to be observed in 1861, although it did not become a tradition then. The first recognized formal observance of the holiday was held in 1895 and it was organized by a school teacher, Bernard J. Cigrand. Over 300,000 of school children took part in the celebration then, and Cigrand became president of the American Flag Day Association which allowed him to keep on promoting the Flag Day. The founder of this association, William T. Kerr, has also played a major role in establishing a holiday honoring the American flag. Flag Day first became a legal holiday in 1937 in Pennsylvania, where Kerr was a resident. Earlier, however, in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson has officially established June 14 as Flag Day.
Today, during the week of June 14 known as “National Flag Week” the President issues a proclamation that calls for observing the day as the anniversary of the adoption of the American flag. It is not a public holiday, yet the observance is connected with displaying the flag on all government buildings, flag-raising ceremonies, and sometimes parades or other celebrations. Many Americans also display the flag at their homes. It is a great occasion for them to reflect on the foundations of the nation’s freedom and the importance of the flag’s message – the union of all states.
Did you know?
In the 1950s the American flag had 48 white stars, for there were only 48 states. It was expected that Alaska would soon become the 49th state, so the flag was supposed to change. One of the high school students, however, Bob Heft borrowed his mother’s sewing machine and, as a school project, cut up his parents’ 48-star flag and stitched on it 50 stars. He expected that Hawaii would become a part of the union too, so he handed the “new flag” to his history teacher. Although the teacher was not favorable to this idea at first, the boy was later invited by President Eisenhower to Washington D.C. for a ceremony adopting the 50-star flag. His history grade was then changed from B- to A.