100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation about the flag. It wasn’t until decades later when President Truman made Flag Day an official national holiday – the day we celebrate today. Many believe that Flag Day started after President Wilson signed his proclamation, but that simply isn’t the case. The true father of Flag Day lived well before this proclamation was signed.
Flag Day is one of those holidays that gets passed over often. It isn’t as glamourous as the Fourth of July, nor is it as admired as Thanksgiving. Flag Day is an important holiday, as the flag of the United States has a deep and Patriotic history. On this day – June 14th – in 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act that would establish the flag we know today as the official flag of the United States. Now, there have been many changes to our flag over the centuries – as new states joined the union, new stars were added. The flag was originally sewn by Betsy Ross carried a different meaning than it does today. The flag was originally created to be be used by the military but over time it has become a patriotic symbol flown outside many houses and buildings in America.
It wasn’t until BJ Cigrand – in 1885 – had his students observe a birthday for Old Glory. He placed a flag on his desk and had his students write essays about the significant of it. In the small town of Fredonia, Wisconsin, a young teacher began a practice that would be followed throughout the years. Even after leaving for dental school, he continued to proclaim and fight for the birthday of the American Flag to be a holiday. He continued to author different articles on the birth of the American flag and how the day should be adopted as a national holiday.
Four years after BJ Cigrand started his birthday celebrations, George Balch did the same. On June 14th, 1889, the kindergarten teacher led an observation of the American flag with his class. This observation led to the state of New York’s school board to adopt the policy and continue the practice. Two years later, in 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia started to observe the same practice. Over the next couple of years, in New York and Philadelphia, communities started to observe flag days in their schools and some of their monuments.
BJ Cigrand was able to see his life’s achievement finally completed when President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation, on May 30th, 1916, after years of watching others observe the day. It wasn’t until August 3rd, 1949, when President Truman signed an Act of Congress to officially declare June 14th of each year as the National Flag Day.
There is a grand history behind Flag Day, one that many Americans do not know. It’s not only important for us to recognize what our flag stands for, but it is equally important to remember all those who have spent their time preserving this history. Our flag is a symbol of freedom seen around the world, it’s history started as a symbol of freedom from oppression. This is the reason we celebrate our flag; this is why so many American’s hang it outside their houses. After 100 years, our flag still flies in the wind, speaking to the world that we are free.