Every year on June 14, the United States honors our nation’s most iconic symbol, the American flag. The flag has become an intricate staple that can be seen from the top of government buildings to the uniforms of our military men and women. It has been used to symbolize everything our nation stands for.
June 14 was chosen to be the date of Flag Day because it commemorates the day the first flag resolution was passed in 1777. The Continental Congress passed the flag resolution and stated that the flag be “thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.” Many reports state the flag was made by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross after she received an order from George Washington. Ross was the official flag maker for the Pennsylvania Navy and has been credited with repairing uniforms and sewing tents for the Navy. This new design replaced the British flag that was known as the Grand Union and was used as an unofficial national flag. The Grand Union included the British flag in the top left corner and thirteen alternating red and white stripes.
For years after the first design of the flag there was no standard design. The flag went through many transformations with one of those changes being the number of stars on the flag. Since there was no standard design the stars in the first designs were often seen with different placements. Some flags presented the stars in a circle while others made different designs out of the stars. As more states entered the union the flags had to be updated to represent those states as well.
Nearly 100 years after Congress passed the flag resolution, a teacher from Wisconsin presented the idea to celebrate Flag Day annually across the country. At the age of 19, Bernard Cigrand introduced the idea of Flag Day to his students in 1885. In 1886 he switched his profession to Dentistry and made his first public attempt to make Flag Day a national day of observance. In June of 1886, Cigrand wrote an article titled “The Fourteenth of June” as a public proposal for the observance. He continued to promote Flag Day throughout the following years by writing articles for a Chicago Organization. Due to his hard work and perseverance, Cigrand is known throughout history as the “Father of Flag Day.”
A few years later in 1889, George Balch led the first formal observance of Flag Day. Balch was a kindergarten teacher from New York City when he planned a ceremony for his students to teach them the history of the flag. Eventually, his idea of observing Flag Day was adopted by the New York State Board of Education and many more communities throughout the country. Two years later, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia and the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution held Flag Day celebrations. Due to these events, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation for a nationwide observance of Flag Day in 1916. However, Flag Day wasn’t made a formal nationwide day of Observance until August of 1949, when President Harry Truman signed it into legislation.
The American flag has played a huge part in the lives of Americans. It has been used to signify the history of freedom and patriotism that our country was founded on. It is a source of pride and inspiration for many. Flag Day is celebrated throughout the country with people displaying their flags around their homes and communities. Parades and ceremonies are also held to commemorate the day the first flag was flown.
The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting those who proudly salute our nation’s most iconic symbol. We feel it is our duty to honor the men and women who serve our country in all aspects of their lives, including helping those who are in need of assistance while transitioning home from the battlefield. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support they deserve by clicking here.