What is Flag Day?
Every year, on June 14, the United States of America celebrates “Flag Day”. Though “Flag Day” is not an official holiday, many towns around the country hold parades and other celebrations to honor the American flag.
Typical ways to honor the American flag are to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing our National Anthem (“The Star Spangled Banner”), put on skits depicting the founding of the country, and so on.
In terms of parades, the longest running “Flag Day” celebration is held every year in Quincy, Massachusetts. The “Flag Day” parade in Quincy began in 1952 and this year is celebrating their 59th parade. The single largest “Flag Day” parade is held every year in Troy, New York. This celebration draws around 50,000 people.
“Flag Day” has been celebrated since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson first issued a proclamation naming June 14th as a day to honor our flag. Why June 14th? The answer is simple — on June 14th, 1777, the second Continental Congress passed a resolution accepting the stars and stripes as our national flag.
“Flag Day” isn’t the only day celebrating our flag — in fact, the entire 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 length of the week. Also, it is important that the flag is displayed prominently on all Government buildings. Some organizations hold further events in celebration of America’s national flag and everything that flag represents. A big week for veterans, “National Flag Week” celebrates not just the flag itself, or the design on that flag, but also the work that went into its creation — the battles fought and the blood spilled so that America could be a free nation.
Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A is the “official statute” that calls for the recognition of Flag Day; however the President can use his discretion to officially proclaim the time of observance.
The Betsy Ross Househas been the traditional site of the city of Philadelphia’s observance of Flag Day, even though the story of Betsy Ross’ sewing the original flag has proven to be little more than an urban legend gone wild.
Pennsylvania is currently the only state which celebrates Flag Day as an official state holiday.
What does “Flag Day” mean for the average American? The very least you should do is proudly display the American flag in front of your house. Be sure to display the flag properly — this means placing the American flag at the top of your flag display (no other state flags or nation’s flags may fly above it), ensure that the “Union” of the flag (the field of stars) is facing the correct direction depending on how you are displaying it, and be sure not to allow the American flag to touch the ground as you prepare it for hanging.
Besides proper hanging, there are other things to remember about displaying the red, white, and blue.
1. Fly your flag from sunrise to sunset — don’t leave your flag out overnight unless you have a proper display light.
2. In the morning, raise the flag quickly — a solemn and slow raising is reserved for solemn occasions, which “Flag Day” is not. At sunset, lower it slowly. Always, raise and lower it with a sense of honor.
3. Do not fly the flag in the rain or other bad weather.
4. When flown vertically on a pole, the stars and blue or “union” is at the top and at the end of the pole, away from your house or building.
5. When it is time to put the flag away, fold it, rather than stuffing it into a box.
6. When your flag is old and it is time to retire it, there is a proper retirement ceremony performed normally by Boy Scouts. These old flags are usually burned and buried. Do not throw it in the trash.