Flag Day is such a weird non holiday. Every year it shows up on the calendar, and every year I wonder what the fuss is about. It’s not a day off. As far as I know, there are no Flag Day sales. So why is it sitting there?
Turns out, June 14, 1777 is the day that the US flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, was first adopted. You know, back when the US was hoping to actually win Independence and the flag had thirteen stars and stripes. So it was New Glory?
The holiday started in a one room school house in Wisconsin. Seriously. According to the National Flag Day Foundation, which is a thing, in 1885, a 19-year-old teacher named Bernard John Cigrand had his students write essays on what the flag meant to them. I’m sure there was a lot of hope and pride mentioned in those essays. The flag at the time had 38 stars on it. And thus started Bernard’s long and illustrious career in making up holidays! Or, bringing recognition to the majesty and wonder that is the American flag. Your pick.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation for a national observance of Flag Day. In 1949, President Truman made Flag Day permanent.
In Baltimore, where the most famous American flag was made and flown, perhaps it should be a bigger deal. It did inspire our National Anthem after all. On the other hand, it’s a made up holiday for a symbol with maybe a tad too much reverence attached to it.
Happy Flag Day!