The Flag of the United States of America will be flown across the nation today in observance of Flag Day.
Citizens, businesses and government buildings will proudly display our flag to celebrate the day of its adoption in 1777.
As our young nation fought for independence from Britain, those first thirteen states sought to establish their own identity by choosing a flag. In a resolution on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted a flag design “…of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
That flag, evolving as each new state joined the Union, became a symbol of freedom and unity that has endured in the hearts of Americans for more than 200 years.
There is a report of the first Flag Day celebration commemorating the Flag Act of 1777 held in Hartford, Conn in the year 1861. However, The National Flag Day Foundation recognized the first Flag Day observance as July 14, 1885 by schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand in Wisconsin and in 2004, the 108th U.S. Congress agreed, voting to recognize it as the official origin of Flag Day.
President Woodrow Wilson issued a Proclamation in 1916 calling for observance of Flag Day on July 14. It was not until 1949 that Congress declared June 14 as “Flag Day,” requesting that the President issue an annual proclamation calling for its observance and for the display of the flag of the United States on all Federal Government buildings. In 1966, Congress asked that the President annually issue a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as “National Flag Week,” calling upon citizens of the United States to display the flag during that week.
President Barack Obama issued that Proclamation on June 6 this year.
“I direct the appropriate officials to display the flag on all Federal Government buildings during that week, and I urge all Americans to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag,” President Obama said. “I also call upon the people of the United States to observe with pride and all due ceremony those days from Flag Day through Independence Day, also set aside by the Congress (89 Stat. 211), as a time to honor America, to celebrate our heritage in public gatherings and activities, and to publicly recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.”
Flag Day is a day to honor the role our flag played both throughout history and now in modern times. From the flag raised by U.S. soldiers at Fort McHenry in Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner, to the flag planted by the Apollo 11 crew on the moon in 1969, to the flags that drape our fallen service members returning from Afghanistan, the Flag of the United States of America is the only symbol with such a power to unite us in times of triumph and adversity.